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Senate panel starts inquiry today on fake rice

Video grab from ANC shows the styrofoam-like appearance of the synthetic rice, which is reportedly made from potatoes, sweet potatoes and resin. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, will preside today over the public hearing on the distribution and sale of fake rice.

Presidential assistant on food security and agricultural modernization Francis Pangilinan, National Food Authority Administrator Renan Dalisay, Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, and Department of Science and Technology Assistant Secretary Raymond Liboro were invited to attend the hearing at the Senate building’s Laurel Room.

Villar expressed concern that the consumption of fake or synthetic rice might pose health hazards. 

“Whether you consume it once or over the long term, the fake rice should not be eaten because it reportedly has plastic. It is not good for digestion,” she said.

To illustrate the dangers of eating plastic rice, Villar noted that consumption of plastic causes death to farm animals. 

“I am told that if a farm worker wants to hurt your farm animals, they would just feed them plastic. Then they will die in a few months,” she said.

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“When you open the dead animals, you will find plastic in their abdomen,” Villar added.

The senator also wants to know from experts the difference between the reported fake rice and the fortified rice being developed at the International Rice Research Institute.

She said there is a need for government and the agriculture sector to work together to improve the country’s local rice production. 

Villar, whose committee had earlier conducted a probe on the alleged rice smuggling in the country, also called on local government officials to help farmers in the provinces. 

She issued the same concern for other farm products such as onions, garlic and ginger.

The Senate panel also asked representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Justice, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and the rice industry to attend the inquiry.

 

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