WFP to probe supplier of suspected poisoned food

Friday March 22 2019

A man suspected to have eaten poisone

A man suspected to have eaten the poisoned porridge being helped by Good Samaritans. File photo    


The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has said it will engage Demirpolat Group, a Turkish company which supplied Super Cereal, a fortified blended food that is suspected to have led to the death of three people in Amudat and Napak districts, in Karamoja region.

Joint investigations into the possible contamination of the food that was distributed by WFP to prevent malnutrition in Karamoja sub-region started this week.   

Separate probes are being carried out by WFP, police and the Ministry of Health.

Four people who reportedly ate the porridge died at Matany Hospital in Napak District.

Ministry of Health officials said in a statement early this week that 262 people who ate the porridge developed mental confusion, high fever and abdominal pain after consuming the same food within a space of one week.

WFP intends to contact Demirpolat that supplied the consignments of Super Cereal that was distributed in Karamoja as part of the investigations into what could have happened.

Mr Ryan Anderson, the WFP Deputy Country Director say the company will be contacted by WFP officials Rome, Italy, where the global food aid agency is based.

According to the WFP’s Inspector General’s report, some vendors from Turkey that supplied food to WFP submitted inaccurate or forged inspection certificates.

“Several other investigations completed in 2017 included suspected fraudulent activities on the part of WFP vendors,” reads the report.

According to a February 11, 2019 statement from Rome, WFP commissioned an independent analysis of protein, fat and micro nutrient levels in Super Cereal supplied by the Turkish company to understand the extent of quality.

It followed investigations which showed that the Super Cereal, a fortified blended food is too low in protein and fat to meet normal specifications.

Quality issues on Super Cereal were first detected in June 2018.

According to the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, preliminary tests of the samples of victims’ blood, urine and vomitus did not reveal bacterial growth.