NFA intensifies efforts vs smuggled, alleged ‘fake’ rice


The National Food Authority (NFA) today said that reports of alleged smuggled Chinese rice and “fake rice” in the market are still being confirmed, as samples submitted to the agency are still undergoing laboratory testing.

NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay led a surprise inspection of public markets in Metro Manila today (June 30) to check on the reported presence of suspected fake or plastic rice from China.

Dalisay has instructed his field officials nationwide to also conduct massive market inspections to allay fears that plastic rice has reached Philippine shores.

Samples of alleged fake rice from Davao have been brought to the NFA Food Development Center (NFA-FDC) in Taguig for testing. However, in order for the results to be conclusive, at least one kilogram of uncooked rice must be subjected to scientific testing.

“Maliit ang sample na binigay sa atin mula sa Davao. Nahihirapan ang scientists dahil maliit ang sample (We received only a small sample of fake rice from Davao. Scientists are having difficulty getting a conclusive result because of the small quantity of cooked rice),” said Administrator Renan Dalisay.

Dalisay further emphasized that the issue of alleged synthetic rice is one of public safety.

“Kung mayroon ibang complainant sana matulungan kami sa pamamagitan ng pag-submit ng isang kilogram na uncooked rice (We are calling on anyone who may have bought alleged fake rice to submit to us samples of raw rice for testing),” he said.

However, he added that it is important to note that Chinese rice is not necessarily the same as fake rice.

Smuggled rice

The public must be vigilant against rice from China, as the NFA has not issued any importation permits for the country. Thus, it is likely that any rice found in the market are smuggled, if they did not come from auctions conducted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The BOC periodically auctions off any smuggled rice it has confiscated.

In Cartimar market, Pasay City, the NFA today visited three retailers suspected to be selling illegally procured rice from China.

NFA’s Technical Research Services Department (TRSD) will check the age of the Chinese rice to determine if it may have been part of the 8,000-bag batch auctioned last October 2014 by the BOC. If the rice is dated to have been produced later than the rice auctioned off last year, then the owners of the stalls will be summoned by the agency for inquiry.

Though the store owners will also be held liable for any illegally procured goods, it is of greatest concern to track down the source of any smuggled rice.

News of suspected fake rice from China going rounds in Asia started spreading last month. There has been no official report as to the validity of this issue. The governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have both denied its existence.

The NFA encourages the public to immediately report to the NFA if they encounter any suspected plastic rice in the market through its hotline number 0906-4363133.

No comments: