There’s no fake rice–NFA
Citing a series of tests on various rice samples, the National Food Authority (NFA) debunked allegations that there is “fake rice” in the country.
NFA administrator Renan B. Dalisay said in a report that the 25-gram sample of allegedly fake rice from Davao City was found to have traces of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a chemical compound used in making flexible plastics.
However, Dalisay said this seemed to be an isolated case and was therefore no cause for alarm among rice consumers.
In an advisory, NFA said that more than a month after a 25-gram sample of alleged “fake rice” was reported in Davao City, a series of tests conducted by various government agencies proved that other rice samples were not contaminated with DBP.
The tests were conducted by NFA’s Food Development Center (FDC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health (DOH).
PhilRice conducted a DNA analysis on the rice sample from Davao City and found it positive for the rice DNA. The IRRI said the sample was “more similar to rice standard” than to sweet potato or corn starch.
The RITM said the alleged cooked fake rice sample was “morphologically different” or different in form and structure from the cooked NFA rice sample because further investigation showed that the rice sample underwent retrogradation process that resulted from a series of freezing, thawing, and heating that rice sample went through.
The NFA-FDC is currently undertaking quantitative analysis on the DBP content of the 25-gram sample that tested positive for DBP.
“What is clear from the series of tests conducted by various agencies is that there is no existence of “fake rice” in our country,” Dalisay said. “What we have is an isolated case of chemically contaminated sample which may have been the result of mishandling or pure neglect to safeguard the rice from contaminants.”
From the time the NFA was alerted on the alleged fake rice on June 30, its monitoring teams patrolled the markets on a daily basis nationwide to ensure that only genuine rice was being sold to the public, Dalisay said.
In a span of five weeks, the NFA responded to over a hundred reports and complaints about suspected fake rice from concerned citizens across the country, but none of the samples tested proved positive of any contamination, he explained.
Secretary Francis Pangilinan, presidential adviser on food security, said the government exhausted all means to analyze the samples submitted to NFA.
“The rice sample from Davao which tested positive for dibutyl phthalate remains to be the only positive case of chemical contamination. This is just a clear case then of food mishandling. As we close this issue, we remind the public to be very cautious in their own food handling practices as the government will continue to ensure that food, especially rice, will be available, affordable, accessible and safe for the public,” Pangilinan said. Riza T. Olchondra
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