Kampala. A senior government official has tasked agencies responsible for quality control to be alert following reports of artificial foods on the market.
Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, the minister in-charge of General Duties, yesterday said she has received information that some people were making artificial eggs, rice and fish.
She said there is fear this could spread to other commodities if not checked.
Ms Okurut was speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda at a joint scientific symposium by Makerere University and National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
“We are what we are because of what we eat. Many people have committed suicide with the fork than any other instrument either because of consumption of a wrong, too much or little food. We see very negative trends. We know plastic rice is being manufactured by unscrupulous people,” Ms Okurut said.
No proof yet
She added: “We are now scared of whether there is another unscrupulous person manufacturing grasshoppers. We have unscrupulous people who are also innovative. We are hoping that departments of government charged with ensuring that we have got products that are not poisonous are alert.”
Mr Edwin Bonge Muhwezi of Uganda National Bureau of Standards yesterday told Daily Monitor that their investigations last week had not established any fake foods on the market. He said they have a market surveillance team that is on ground every day to monitor products being sold so that they are not compromised.
“We investigated when we got reports of fake eggs but we haven’t come across any fake eggs. We also investigated rice but there is no plastic rice. We appeal to the public to remain vigilant and report immediately, our team will be there to investigate,” Mr Muhwezi said.
According to Mr Muhwezi, they seized more than 400 metric tones of fake products on the market (worth Shs3.5 billion) last year which were destroyed last month.
National remote sensing centre
Citing the recent mudslides in Bududa, Ms Okurut urged the scientists to increase use of space science, earth observation and geospatial science and technology to detect the early warning signs to save lives and safeguard the environment.
She added that the government plans to establish a national remote sensing centre.
The Makerere University vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said only 50 per cent of their research is utilised by government agencies and appealed that extension services be revised for proper linkage.
Mr Yona Baguma, the Naro deputy director general, asked government to support farmers with storage facilities which can accommodate agricultural produce.
He said 40 per cent of the maize produced in the last season got spoilt because of lack of storage facilities.