WFP threatens to halt operations

KATHMANDU: The United Nations World Food Programme today strongly reacted against the allegations by INSEC that their food was unfit for human consumption saying that protecting the lives of Nepal's most vulnerable was at the heart of WFP's interest.

"We have a rigorous food quality control system that WFP follows around the world, which is designed to ensure that the food our beneficiaries receive is safe for human consumption. Here in Nepal this process involves WFP staff, suppliers, transporters, implementing partners and both government and private testing centres to ensure food quality throughout the entire food pipeline," said WFP issuing here a press statement Friday.

"In relation to yesterday's reports in the media about samples INSEC sent to the Food Technology and Quality Control Lab, WFP had no confidence that the food samples supplied by INSEC were drawn using the appropriate sampling methodologies or procedures".

The statement added that as a part of their WFP Nepal testing process, each consignment of food was tested either by a private lab, the Centre for Quality Surveillance (CQS), or through the testing center of the government-owned Nepal Food Corporation. "Food was delivered to beneficiaries only after tests confirmed that they were safe for human consumption.

WFP is more than happy to make our testing procedures and results public through the Government of Nepal since they are extensively involved in testing our food," read the statement.

WFP reiterated that their food met the quality standards required by the Government. "If the Government of Nepal concludes that our food doesn't meet the requirements then we are willing to suspend operations," said the statement.

WFP urged that they would move the debate forward from unproven claims, and refocuse it on humanitarian priorities.