The South Sudan National Bureau of Standards announced on Tuesday its intention to dispose of 120 tonnes of impounded food items imported from Uganda.
Mary Gordon Muortat, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Standards, confirmed that the standards body had confiscated 63 trucks loaded with food items that tested positive for aflatoxin.
The main contents of these trucks, which primarily consist of maize, will be destroyed.
“Our investigations have confirmed to the South Sudan-based Radio Tamazuj that these shipments are unsuitable for human consumption. As a result, the government has made the decision to destroy them. The items will be discarded in accordance with the standards bureau’s regulations. If something is unfit for consumption, it must be destroyed,” stated Mary.
On May 15th, South Sudan officials at the Nimule border point seized 120 tons of maize grains, maize flour, and wheat that were deemed unsuitable for human consumption.
Upon subjecting 27 samples of the confiscated goods to laboratory testing, officials at the border discovered their unsuitability for consumption, prompting the impoundment.
Mary reassured the people of South Sudan that no truck would be permitted to leave with any consignment deemed harmful for consumption.
“We are safeguarding our consumers and protecting our country from becoming a dumping ground. No one should question our decision. The government has made its determination, and that is final,” she affirmed.
She criticised the Ugandan Bureau of Standards for failing to test the goods before their shipment across the border.
“When we inquired about these shipments arriving without certification, they replied that these were products near to us and brought to us, and thus, they never submitted them to the Bureau of Standards,” Mary explained.
“These goods have entered our territory, and as such, we have the prerogative to handle them as we see fit. The Ugandan Bureau of Standards should have conducted all necessary inspections before issuing the necessary paperwork. We have urged them to test any consignments coming from Uganda,” she said.
On June 16, 2023, Ugandan officials requested South Sudan to release and return the 63 trucks carrying food items that tested positive for aflatoxin.
On Monday, the drivers whose trucks were seized at the Nimule Border threatened to go on strike if South Sudan did not release their vehicles. Mary maintained that the decision to destroy the goods would stand despite potential protests, emphasizing that the country has full authority to make decisions regarding harmful goods entering its territory.