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Retailers dispel fake rice rumor as fake news

Reports on fake rice also circulated in 2015, but test results show that the unusual appearance was due only to a retrogradation process, which involved a series of freezing, thawing and heating. File
MANILA, Philippines — The allegation on the selling of fake rice in local markets is just another fake news, the country’s rice retailers said.
 
The Grain Retailers’ Confederation of the Philippines Inc. confirmed that fake rice is just another hoax among the many fake news that continues to spread particularly in social media.
 
"There’s no such thing as fake rice, only fake news. There is no actual fake rice discovered now and even in 2015 when a similar incident surfaced," GRECON National President James Magbanua said in a briefing Friday.
 
He emphasized that selling fake rice is a no-win situation for the country’s retailers and will not yield any advantage for them.
 
"There’s no imaginable benefit in selling fake rice in the part of the retailers. There is no incentive in selling fake rice," Magbanua said.
 
"It is costlier to produce fake rice or put plastic additives. The use of this will destroy our business and create unnecessary panic," he added.
 
State-run National Food Authority also backed the group saying the suspected fake rice passed the laboratory tests it conducted.
 
"Results of suspected fake rice submitted to the food development center of the NFA for analyses showed that they have starch granules, starch content and sensory characteristics typical of raw rice," NFA Administrator Jason Aquino said.
 
 
The group expressed alarm over the wildfire spread of news in social media postings that fake rice is being sold in various local markets.
 
"The lack of discernment helped create a new modus operandi which specifically targets grains retailers which is a clear concerted effort to defraud and harass the members of GRECON," he said.
 
Furthermore, GRECON is proposing the creation of a rice watch committee to address the issue of fake rice.
 
"This will be composed of concerned government agencies and private sector and to be supported by legal team to address the issue and also assure the consuming public," Magbanua said.
 
Despite the assurance, NFA has ordered its field offices to heighten their monitoring activities and seek out people complaining about alleged fake rice in their respective areas.
 
Reports on fake rice also circulated in 2015, but test results showed that the unusual appearance was due only to a retrogradation process, which involved a series of freezing, thawing and heating.
 
Rice was also found contaminated with a plasticizer chemical compound called dibutyl phthalate due to mishandling or keeping the rice in a container prone to contamination from other stocks.
 
"What we had in the past was an isolated case of chemically contaminated sample which may have been the result of mishandling or pure neglect to safeguard rice from contaminants," Aquino said.
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