KAMPALA – Leaders and residents of Masaka Municipality have expressed concern over the rising cases of vendors using deadly chemicals to preserve grasshoppers.
Residents and area leaders told this website at the weekend that most of them have fallen sick, including developing symptoms such as vomiting after consuming grasshoppers.
Joseph Kirabira, a resident of Kyabakuza in Masaka municipality, said his children developed headache while he started vomiting after eating grasshoppers.
“We had just eaten the delicious insects when my daughter started complaining of headache. Then all of us started vomiting. It was terrible,” Mr Kirabira said.
The Masaka Municipality health officer, Dr Patrick Kasekende, confirmed that after receiving 20 cases, they investigated and confirmed cases of contaminated and dead grasshoppers.
“We have come up with new laws to guide our vendors which include putting on Aprons among the vendors, stopping with immediate effect selling grasshopper on the floor of streets, having leadership as vendors and routine supervision from health inspectors in areas where they are sold,” Dr Kasekende said.
Mr John Behangane, the town clerk, said many grasshopper vendors lack hygiene, with some of the dealers spreading the grasshoppers in inappropriate places.
He warned locals to stop buying dead grasshoppers and eating uncooked ones. In Uganda, grasshoppers are in season from November to December and again from April to June, because of natural breeding cycles. When the insects are in season, Ugandans often abandon their everyday jobs and head to the fields to collect grasshoppers.
Last year, Kampala Capital City Authority arrested butchers from markets across Kampala for using a concoction of chemicals to preserve meat. Meat samples on the market were reportedly tested and found to contain traces of formalin, the chemical commonly used to preserve dead bodies. It is reportedly that formalin, a solution known for the preservation of biological specimen and embalming in order to delay decomposition is used by butchers to repel flies from fresh products.