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No fake rice in ARMM, says regional NFA office

COTABATO CITY – The National Food Authority (NFA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has assured the public that there is no synthetic, or fake, rice in the region amid reports of such product sold in Davao City and in other areas.

The NFA-ARMM has conducted inspections in rice retail outlets all over the region since July 1 in response to reports of suspected synthetic rice sold in some provinces not only Mindanao but in Luzon and the Visayas as well.

“We closely supervise rice (distribution) in the re-gion and so far, we have not monitored any fake rice,” said Fernando Nuñez, NFA-ARMM assistant regional manager. Fake, or synthetic, rice is reportedly made from other crops mixed with syn-thetic components, includ-ing chemicals related to the manufacture of plastic, and produced in neighboring countries.

NFA rice supply in Cotabato City and Maguindanao comes from General Santos City; rice retailed in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur is from Cagayan de Oro City; and in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, rice comes from Zamboanga City.

Nuñez said there are several processes and certifications in the legal importation of rice. The supplier is required to submit certificates of origin, of weight, and of quality in order to check if the incoming commodity conforms to current standards.

NFA rice is available in the region’s markets at a price of P27 per kilo for regular milled and P32 per kilo for well-milled. The region’s grains agency also offered tips when buying rice.

Consumers, it said, should buy only from licensed retailers, which can be found in designated public markets, from groceries and supermarkets, as well as in NFA-accredited outlets. Licensed outlets, it added, display the full name of the retailer and the NFA accreditation number.

Consumers should also pay attention to the appearance of the commodity since the NFA imports long-grained and white rice. Fake rice is reportedly not too white, usually round, and uniform in shape and size. NFA rice also does not smell of plastic. When cooked, there should be no layer of plastic above the rice. Avoid rice, the agency said, that weighs less than the usual.

Furthermore, the grains agency said if there is suspicious-looking rice bought, the consumer must provide a sample of at least one kilo of uncooked grains and basic information of when, where, and from whom it was bought.

He said reports on such product retailed in the market can be relayed through NFA-ARMM hotline at 421-2407and NFA’s Bantay Bigas hotline at 0906 436 3133. (BPI-ARMM)

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