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Health Minister Dismisses ‘Contaminated Milk’ Reports

Uganda’s Health Minister, Ruth Aceng has dismissed social media reports claiming that her department issued a warning on milk contaminated with sodium metabisulphite.

Last week, a message purportedly from the ministry of health warned consumers of dairy products claiming they contained chemicals harmful to humans.

“I wish to categorically state that I have not made such a statement. Neither have I discussed any Diary product with any media personnel, reporter or writer,” reads Aceng’s statement.

It adds, “The duty of informing the public about milk and it’s quality lies with the Diary Development Authority (DDA) and they are the only ones mandated to speak about milk under the guidance of Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and fisheries. Having been a previous Chair of the National Codex Committee that deals with food safety and fair trade, I am aware of this and therefore cannot interfere in their work.”

It is not clear who begun circulating the misinformation.

However, we have learnt that Aceng’s statement followed a request by the DDA that the ministry clears the air on the damaging reports.

“This allegation if not refuted could lead to Ugandan milk and milk products being banned on the international market which could consequently affect dairy export earnings. It could also lead to Ugandans shunning consumption of milk and milk products which ultimately will have negative consequences on the economy,” reads in part a letter from the DDA ED, Jolly Zaribwende, to the health minister.

DDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Agriculture, with the mandate to develop and regulate the dairy industry in a in a sustainable manner.

She adds in her letter that the body through its strict conformity assessment activities, it has found no contaminants in milk and milk products as alleged by the communication.

 

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