BAGUIO CITY – The National Food Authority (NFA) assures the public that there is no proof that fake rice is being sold in Philippine markets including Baguio City at present.
NFA Baguio-Benguet Provincial Manager Cecilia Concubierta recently led an inspection of the various stalls selling rice in the Baguio Public Market to ensure that fake rice has not entered the city. The NFA also conducted inspection at the market areas in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Concubierta said NFA conducted daily monitoring of the rice market situation and has not found any adulterated or unusual rice stocks in any of the markets covered.
Reports in social media showing alleged fake or plastic rice are being verified by NFA’s investigation and enforcement department. NFA management has instructed its field offices to further heighten their monitoring activities and seek out people complaining about alleged fake rice in their respective areas.
On Friday, a consumer from Baguio City posted on social media that they bought fake rice. NFA took samples of the alleged fake rice and conducted laboratory analysis and it was found out that it was real rice and not fake rice.
The public is also being encouraged to be vigilant and report to NFA observations about any unusual features in the rice that they buy, in terms of appearance, smell or tastes, so that the agency can send enforcement agents to the source of the stocks and samples can be taken for laboratory analysis by the agency’s Food Development Center.
Meanwhile, in the wake of reports about alleged fake rice in the market, the NFA has released guidelines for the public to ensure that what they are buying is real rice.
For raw rice, consumers should make sure that they buy only from retailers accredited by the NFA or from their “suki” rather than from vendors they do not know or trust. An NFA accredited store displays the trader’s full name and license number.
If the grains are uniformly-sized, there’s a chance they may have been made by a machine. All rice grains have a chalky dot or scar at the tip of the kernel where the germ or embryo was removed. It looks like a small groove at the tip of each grain of rice.
Aside from the appearance, 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 the composition of the “grain.”
For cooked rice, consumers must also make sure it does not smell unusual. There should be no foam -like substance left on top of the rice when cooked. If one feels ill from eating any suspected fake rice, it is best to see a doctor immediately.
Sample of the rice, at least 1 kilogram, should be brought to the NFA-FDC for analysis. For those who cannot go to NFA directly, they may give their address and contact details so that NFA agents can get the samples from them.
Anyone may contact the NFA Bantay Bigas Hotline 0906-4363133 to report any complaints related to suspected fake rice or rice trading violations. /RMC, M. Paquiz & P. Otoman-PIA CAR/UP Interns