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Fort Portal Residents Complain of Stomach Complications After Eating Grasshoppers

 Grasshoppers are a popular delicacy in Uganda

Several people in Fort Portal City are battling stomach complications after consuming grasshoppers. During the months of November and December Uganda receives grasshoppers commonly known as “Nsenene”, a popular delicacy in some parts of Uganda.

Grasshoppers are highly nutritious with 40 percent protein, 43 percent fat, and 13 percent dietary fiber.

Several residents who spoke to our reporter say that they bought fresh grasshoppers from the vendors, and prepared them but after eating them, they developed complications such as stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Philip Tumwebaze, one of the affected residents, says that he bought fresh grasshoppers, plucked them, and cooked them himself

He, however, says that he got nauseated and developed an urge to vomit shortly after eating them but he immediately took a soda, which soothed him.

Mercy Mbabazi, another resident says that she has been eating grasshoppers every season since she was a child and had never experienced any side effects.

She is wondering why this season she developed stomach aches and diarrhea after consuming the delicacy.

Dr. Bernard Bwambale, a nutritionist told our reporter there could be a possibility of food poisoning in the insects that have resulted in consumers developing digestive complications.

Bwambale says that the food poisoning could have resulted from poor hygiene and contamination while handling the grasshoppers.

He notes that the way grasshoppers are harvested, transported, stored, and even prepared exposes them to contamination, and when not properly cooked the dirt can result in food poisoning.

Bwambale says that some consumers don’t take time to thoroughly wash the insects before preparing them while others do not cook them properly.

He says that as it is with other food, eating half-cooked grasshoppers could also cause digestive disorders.

Bwambale notes that if more people experience complications, it would be good for authorities to investigate the source of the grasshoppers and what the cause is.

Stephen Muhenda, the Fort Portal City Health Educator, says that they have not registered any complaints of people with complications resulting from the consumption of grasshoppers. Muhenda however, says that if there are some people who have complications, it could be a result of introducing new food to someone’s digestive system.

He says that being a seasonal food that comes once a year, the body is not used to this type of food, and once consumed there is always a reaction. Just like Dr. Bwambale, Muhenda says that hygiene could also be a possible cause of the problem.

He says that some people do not care about cleaning the insects before preparations while others do not know how to prepare them. He cautioned people against excessive consumption of the delicacy as this may result in digestive complications like vomiting and diarrhea.

On Monday, Kasese district authorities sent samples of grasshoppers to the Uganda Virus Research Institute after consumers there started vomiting and getting other stomach complications. Residents in Bunyangabu and Kyenjojo districts have also complained of getting similar symptoms after consumption of the local delicacy.

Currently, a cup of fresh nonplucked grasshoppers in Fort Portal costs between 1000-1500 Shillings while a cup of plucked grasshoppers goes for between 5000-7000 Shillings.


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