World Food Programme Should Conduct Mandatory Standard Tests of Food Before Distribution
Our attention is drawn to the fact that the food grains for the mid-day meal program of schools in Karnali and Sudurpaschim Provinces, under the World Food Programme, were found to be of poor quality. The incident of procuring 54 thousand kilos of wet, milled, and rotten rice grains, to distribute in Nepal is a violation of the right of the Nepali people to healthy food and is against the best interests of children.
The World Food Programme has been distributing food grains in remote areas of Nepal for 45 years under programs such as mid-day meals. However, in May, June, and July 2009, more than 300 people died due to diarrhea in Jajarkot and other hilly districts. The study report published by INSEC on 15 August 2009, states that the substandard food distributed under World Food Programme in the hilly region could be one of the causes of diarrhea. The report also included the distribution and consumption of inedible food, along with the distribution of expired water purifiers. It also includes the information that the Food Technology and Quality Control Department determined that the rice distributed in Jajarkot was unfit for consumption based on the samples collected. However, INSEC’s request to the Government of Nepal and the United Nations to investigate this matter and take action against the culprits was ignored.
Even today, food distributed in Nepal under the World Food Programme is without quality testing. The government of Nepal is ignoring the demands of INSEC and other organizations and the issue of such an important public concern.
We demand that the World Food Programme make mandatory the standard testing of all types of food supplied to Nepal and ensure the constitutional right of the Nepali people regarding food. In addition, we request the Nepal government to investigate the incident of the distribution of substandard food to children and take legal action against the culprits involved in that act.
Dr. Kundan Aryal