DAVAO CITY – City Council on Wednesday invited concerned agencies on the matter of alleged fake rice that is proliferating here.
The committee hearing was conducted by Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, chair for the Committee on Health and Councilor Marissa Salvador-Abella, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Invited were the National Food Authority (NFA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Science and Technology, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
During the inter-agency meeting, the BOC clarified that the alleged fake rice did not come from the auction conducted by the agency.
Atty. Jose Lagac Jr. of the BOC law division said that it is impossible that the reported fake rice last June 26 came from a public auction sale by the BOC.
“The auction was concluded on the 25th (June), and the payment was made on the 26th. So, (the auctioned rice) was not released on the 26th,” said Lagac.
“Actually it was released the week after because we have to arrange all the clearances from other government agencies,” he added.
Meanwhile, DA rice staff Jacinto Macoy Jr. assured that the rice they have generated coming from different provinces are products from the local farmers and not fake.
Macoy added that they went to NFA upon hearing the issue and took samples of the alleged fake rice.
“Actually first, we went to NFA then took samples of the alleged fake rice. After that, we introduced the samples to the farmers to let them know what the alleged fake rice looks like,” said Macoy.
He added that they will continue to inform the public, particularly the farmers, to be vigilant in buying rice.
On the other hand, FDA satellite laboratory staff Lalaine Carreon said that the samples of the alleged fake rice submitted to them underwent an identification test as to visual, odor and texture examination.
“As to visual examination, it really looks like rice because it is white and glutinous, but with the odor, as to the samples submitted, it is somewhat rancid, and to the texture, it is not pasty,” said Carreon.
Police Chief Inspector Warren Dablo, team leader of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said that the complainants have identified where they have bought the alleged fake rice.
“They told us where they bought it. We went there and conducted investigation. The retailer also told us about his source, one from Tagum and one from Bansalan,” said Dablo.
The CIDG, together with the NFA, went to the store and collected samples from the varieties of rice being sold by the retailer.
“The result that was released yesterday by the NFA is well milled rice. There was no report that it is synthetic or fake,” he said.
Last Saturday, they have also visited the rice mill in Tagum where the alleged fake rice came from, and randomly collected samples and conducted ocular inspection.
Dablo said that the owner told them that “all the source is coming from local markets.”
“They got the staples from Sto. Tomas, Banay-Banay and Monkayo,” said Dablo.
Results of the laboratory tests showed that the varieties of rice samples collected were all well milled rice.
“We have already visited and investigated all the possible sources divulged by the complainants. We conducted backtracking. We didn’t found any synthetic or fake rice,” he said.
NFA Regional Director Dianne Silva, however, said that they are considering all the possibilities until this issue of fake rice will be concluded.
“We are entertaining all the possibilities. We are looking into all angles until we will arrive to the bottom of this,” said Silva.
Silva added that she considers this as an isolated incident, “but we are not closing our doors to the possibilities.”
“Although we only have one household complaining, but because of what has been circulating in the media for the past months, we are not closing our doors that is why we are intensifying our effort in coordination with all the law enforcement agencies,” said Silva. (davaotoday.com)