The National Food Authority, on which is vested the function of ensuring food security and the stability of supply and price of the staple grain – rice, has assured the public that there is no proof that so-called fake rice, in the form of plastic material extruded to look like grains of rice, is being sold widely in the market.
The pronouncement comes in the face of a video that has been circulating in social media circles pertaining to a Netizens experience with the so-called “pekeng bigas”.
NFA is said to conduct daily monitoring of the situation in the rice market, and the reports in social media pertaining to alleged fake or plastic rice are being verified by NFA’s investigation and enforcement department.
NFA has released guidelines for the public to ensure that what they are buying is real rice.
For raw rice, consumers should make sure that they buying only from retailers accredited by the NFA or from their “suki” rather than from vendors they do not know or trust. An NFA accredited store displays the trader’s full name and license number.
If the grains are uniformly-sized, there’s a chance they may have been made by a machine. All rice grains have a chalky dot or scar at the tip of the kernel where the germ or embryo was removed. It looks like a small groove at the tip of each grain of rice.
Aside from the appearance, consumers should also be aware of the smell of rice. If it smells anything like plastic or any synthetic material, it should be subjected to laboratory analysis to ascertain the composition of the “grain.”
For cooked rice, consumers must also make sure it does not smell unusual. There should be no foam like substance left on top of the rice when cooked.
If one feels ill from eating any suspected fake rice, it is best to see a doctor immediately.
Sample of the rice, at least 1 kilogram, should be brought to the NFA-FDC for analysis. For those who cannot go to NFA directly, they may give their address and contact details so that NFA agents can get the samples from them.
Anyone may contact the NFA Bantay Bigas Hotline 0906-4363133 to report any complaints related to suspected fake rice or rice trading violations.