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Gov’t asks court to dismiss suit against junk food

The government has asked court to dismiss a case in which it is accused of failing to protect Ugandans from the influx of junk food

Civil Society Organization Health Equity and Policy Initiative (HEAPI) and Anthony Odur, a health rights activist sued government in December last year saying that lives of especially children were being put in danger by the government’s failure to regulate, among others, labels on food products and their advertisement. 

Also sued together with the government is the National Children Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). HEAPI sought for conspicuous healthy warnings on labels of unhealthy foods and beverages in their application. 








According to them, research shows that graphic health warnings on food packages similar to those used on cigarette or alcohol packs can prompt people to abandon pleasure-seeking impulses and choose healthier foods.  

But state attorney Samuel Tusubira says the suit is premature and misconceived because the Ministry of Health and various institutions have from time to time issued circulars that highlight the knowledge and attitudes of behavioural change to communities in food and nutrition-related matters. 

He cites policies that advance proper nutrition like the presidential initiative on healthy eating and healthy living and the food and nutrition policy of 2003 where the goal of government is ensuring that food accessed by the population is nutritious, safe and conforms to acceptable standards. 

Tusubira said the issue of deceptive and misleading advertisements is being addressed in the Consumer Protection Bill currently tabled before parliament.

He also noted that UHRC as the third respondent doesn’t have a mandate to make any regulations or enforce regulations regarding the operations of restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and coffee shops and that they can only intervene by carrying out an investigation at their own initiative or on a complaint made against the violation of any human right.

Tusubira said the application is premature and wants it dismissed with costs.


+3 #1 Lysol 2020-02-14 21:23
Not many Ugandan kids can afford to eat junk food. Only the kids of the corrupt elites can affords to eat KFC and burgers,

Even Museveni himself eats a lot of non-nutritious and unhealthy food He eats too much (aside from drinking too much milk) carbs (potatoes, millet and cassava) which can easily be converted into fat and sugar.

He claims to be losing weight, but in the wrong way. There are also many underlying health issues involved in his rapid weight loss, including old age and stress and anxiety(mental).

Let those Kids enjoy junk food, since they are still growing up. One Ms Obama failed to do that in the USA. Well, Ugandans are always copycats. It's still a poor country with many starving people who eat one meal a day.
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+1 #2 rubangakene 2020-02-14 22:49
The Presidential Initiative on Nutrition and so on of 2003 is obsolete in my view; the world situation has changed drastically since then with food suppliers "cutting corners to make a quick buck".

The whole world is now committed to healthy living, so should we. At present, we have the corona-virus epidemic and we still see people drinking Marua and sharing 'losekes' (sucking tubes) and no bye-law has been issued to safeguard us from this danger.

This government should wake up and use all the available media and their so called RDCs, LDUs to educate and enforce these measures. Meanwhile the newspapers should also participate in the education of the masses!
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0 #3 the commenter 2020-02-15 04:15
this Activist is a joker. He expects the govt to design menus for pple’s homes

This type of communist thinking is dangerous. Pple who think govt must control every aspect of pple’s life. Socialists!!!

Come up with a program to educate parents on healthy food. That’ll deliver more results than suing a govt. The country has serious problems that need to be resolved.
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0 #4 Lakwena 2020-02-17 15:04
I think Anthony Odur, is a fortune hunter.

Unless there is/are laws on prohibition on the choice of food, and/or the fast-food venders, are in some way poisoning Ugandans, what business does the government got to do with whatever Ugandans choose to eat?

Until that happens those Ugandans who can afford junk food, are free to dig their graves with their forks, spoons or hands.

Otherwise the majority out there, who sometimes go without a meal a day, do not even know whether there is such a thing as junk food. Or that it kills.

In other words Anthony Odur, if even the fear of death (God) could not prevent Adam and Eve from eating the forbidden fruit, would your suit compel the government to tell Ugandans as follow:

"Thou shall not eat junk food. For the day you partake of it, you shall surely drop dead". Or who soever vends junk food commits murder.
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