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NFA: What fake rice?

NFA administrator Jason Aquino said they did not find any adulterated or unusual rice stocks in any local market, contrary to social media posts. File

MANILA, Philippines - There is no proof that fake rice is sold in local markets, the National Food Authority (NFA) assured the public yesterday.

NFA administrator Jason Aquino said they did not find any adulterated or unusual rice stocks in any local market, contrary to social media posts.

However, Aquino said NFA field offices were ordered to heighten their monitoring and seek out people complaining about alleged fake rice in their areas.

“We have instructed our field personnel to go directly to the people who claim that they have purchased what they suspect as fake rice, and get samples rather than wait for them to come to our offices to file a complaint or bring samples,” said Aquino.

He urged the public to avoid causing panic among consumers and encouraged them to report anything unusual in the appearance, smell and taste of rice in the market.

The NFA released its guidelines to spot fake rice, including buying only from NFA-accredited retailers.

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“If the grains are uniformly-sized, there’s a chance they were made by a machine. Consumers should also be aware of the smell of rice. If it smells anything like plastic or any synthetic material, it should be subjected to laboratory analysis to ascertain its composition,” Aquino said.

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.

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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