The government of Uganda has started a campaign to tackle the high levels of aflatoxin in food.
The call, supported by Oxfam, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), the Grain Council of Uganda and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, came ahead of World Food Safety Day this year.
Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced by moulds and can affect produce that is not well-dried. High levels can also contaminate food crops like cereals, legumes, oil crops and others, posing a serious health risk to humans and livestock. Based on past research, consuming foods with high aflatoxin levels increases the risk of liver cancer and other related diseases.
High aflatoxin limits were also described as a “major barrier” to the export of Uganda’s agricultural produce to the East African region and internationally. Contamination can also cause crop loss, contributing to hunger.
The campaign is aimed at creating awareness and training all stakeholders in the value chain, from the farm to the final consumer, on how to handle food to avoid contamination.