The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) conducted a sensitization program for school leaders from the eastern region last week to enhance their understanding of food standards. The event took place at the Mbale Resort Hotel, where school leaders from sub-regions including Bugisu, Bukedi, Sebei, and others in the eastern region participated.
Sylvia Kirabo, who heads the Public Relations and Marketing Department at UNBS, addressed hundreds of school leaders during the program. She explained that the purpose of this sensitization exercise was to equip school leaders with knowledge on proper food product storage and the importance of avoiding purchases from companies not recognized by UNBS.
Kirabo highlighted the context of this sensitization, citing an incident in July when over three hundred students from Nakonyonyi Senior Secondary School in Mukono district were rushed to Naggalama Hospital in critical condition after consuming suspected poisoned food. However, investigations revealed that the students fell ill due to poor food storage practices and purchasing from unrecognized companies rather than deliberate poisoning.
UNBS plans to conduct inspections of schools across the country to assess their food storage practices and supplier choices. Schools found to have inadequate food storage facilities and source food from unrecognized companies may face closure. Sophia Munaba, the Head Teacher of Nansanga Seed School in Budaka district, expressed her appreciation for the sensitization exercise.
She believes it will help schools improve hygiene standards where food is stored and identify recognized food suppliers. Munaba also called on UNBS to take action against food companies that forge UNBS logos, as it can be challenging for consumers to distinguish authentic products. Moses Odelwe, the Director of Link Child Nursery and Primary School in Mbale City urged UNBS to provide schools with more time before initiating a crackdown. He emphasized that schools need sufficient resources to construct modern food storage facilities.
By Ronnie Weswa