‘Fake rice’ isolated to Davao – Francis Pangilinan
There is no proliferation of “fake rice” in the country, Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan told a Senate hearing on Monday.
Pangilinan, presidential assistant on food security and agricultural modernization, said that out of more than 60 reports of possible existence of the questionable foodstuff, only one was “positive” for contaminants.
“After more than two weeks of daily inspections, all the complaints, except that in Davao, were negative,” Pangilinan told the Senate committee on agriculture and food chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.
He said that in 60 cases the rice was “genuine,” saying the reports arose from fear or doubts caused by the food scare.
“Only one was found questionable in terms of contaminants. That’s the one in Davao,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan was referring to the suspicious rice found in Davao del Sur last month.
The secretary declined to describe as “fake” the rice reported in Davao, saying it contained starch, but warned the public to avoid eating it until they have concluded their investigation.
According to him, after tests were done, contaminants were found only in the samples from Davao.
“Hindi totoo na nag proliferate ang fake rice sa merkado base sa ating datos. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi tayo maging mapagbantay,” (It is not true that there is a proliferation of fake rice. But this does not mean that we will lower our guard) he added.
Two women from Davao City — Carmencita Griño and Erlinda Falle — appeared before the hearing and narrated how they discovered the dubious foodstuff.
Griño said that on the night of June 24, her father gave her some cooked “rice,” which she could not reheat in the morning.
“Para syang styrofoam,” (It was like styrofoam) she said.
Finding it odd, she took a picture of the rice and posted it on Facebook. Later members of media talked to her about it.
Her sister-in-law, Hannah Falle, reportedly claimed that the rice came from a retailer, a certain Brieta, in Bansalan, Davao del Sur. Falle, however, later changed her statement and said that it came from a canteen in Cabantian, in Davao City.
Diane Silva, regional director of the National Food Authority (NFA), said they inspected the store of “Brieta” and other outlets in Bansalan but did not find any fake rice.
Silva said the canteen mentioned by Falle was actually owned by her, but withheld the information to the NFA. Maila Ager
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