Fear of ‘fake’ rice fuels demand for corn grits | Inquirer News

Fear of ‘fake’ rice fuels demand for corn grits

/ 12:13 AM July 15, 2015

KIDAPAWAN CITY—Apprehension over the so-called synthetic rice is fueling demand for corn grits in this city and areas nearby, according to a group of grain vendors.

Carmelito Bacus, president of Grain Retailers Association Confederation in North Cotabato province, said his group’s members had noticed an increase in the sale of corn grits amid reports that rice laced with plastic resins and thus unfit for human consumption was flooding the market.

They were running out of stock of yellow and white corn grits “because of the surge in buying by consumers,” Bacus said. In the past, they were selling only up to five bags of corn grits a day, but consumers are now buying at least double the volume, leading to a shortage in supply, he pointed out.


High demand and low supply are spiking prices of corn grits by P2 to P3 per kilogram, Bacus said. White corn grits, which used to cost P26 per kg, are being bought at P30.


Consumers appear to be willing to shift to eating corn rather than risk consuming “fake” rice despite assurances that shipments of the grains have not reached the province or city, Bacus said. He added that he could not blame them for becoming too cautious.

Davao del Sur province has been initially tagged as the source of the controversial rice being sold in Davao City, but the National Food Authority (NFA) said it failed to find any sign of it in the province.

Dianne Silva, NFA Southern Mindanao director, said consumers should not worsen the situation by spreading rumors about the fake rice.

Silva cited cases where consumers would complain against chalky rice grains and conclude that these were fake. Being chalky is just a sign of immature grains, she said.

The entry of fake rice, according to Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, should not be blamed on the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“The BOC is not involved,” Lina told the Inquirer after he spoke at the second general membership assembly of the Clark Investors and Locators Association at the Widus Hotel in Clark Freeport in Pampanga province.


He said he was confident about his facts because these were the results of the agency’s monitoring of rice importation, intelligence operations and examiners’ reports.

The BOC, he said, has not held stocks of the so-called plastic rice.

Last week, Lina visited Davao City but was unable to meet with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to discuss the issue. Duterte has warned smugglers not to bring in fake rice, saying he would make them eat the supply.

Lina could not tell the possible entry points of the grains, saying that guarding the country’s long coastline was difficult.

The Senate is set to investigate the reported proliferation of the synthetic rice and its threats to people’s health.

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The NFA has asked the public to give samples of at least a kilogram of uncooked grains if these are suspected to be fake rice and provide information on when, where and from whom the supply was bought. It opened a hotline at 0906-4633133. Reports from Williamor Magbanua and Eldie Aguirre, Inquirer Mindanao; and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

TAGS: fake rice, News, Regions

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