Laboratory investigations into the cause of multiple serious and fatal food poisoning incidents in Uganda during 2019

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Abstract

During 2019 a series of food poisoning events and deaths occurred in Uganda due to an unknown causativeagent. In response the World Food Programme (WFP) initiated investigations into the incidents which includedcontacting expert laboratories to analyse the main suspect product known as Super Cereal. The laboratories useda broad gamut of their testing capabilities to determine the cause of the incidents. This included targeted andnon-targeted methodologies such as LC-MS/MS, QToF-MS and spectroscopic techniques coupled to chemometrics.The conclusion of the investigation was that the cause of the food poisoning was due to the presence ofthe Tropane alkaloids, atropine and scopolamine, in the Super Cereal. These alkaloids were found to be presentdue to the incorporation of Datura seeds during production of the Super Cereal. Furthermore, the data generatedshowed all outbreaks were caused by a single batch of the Super Cereal.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalFood Control
Volume121
Early online date25 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2021

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