NBI probes ‘fake rice;’ NFA 7 gets 4 complaints

A TAXI driver has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 to investigate what he suspects to be fake rice.

Lawyer Augusto Eric Isidoro, NBI 7 assistant director, said that the driver reported that the rice caught fire when cooked.

The driver’s family also reported stomach pains after eating the rice.

Isidoro said the NBI 7 sent samples of the rice to the National Food Authority (NFA) and the NBI-Chemistry Division in Manila.

NFA 7 Information Officer Agnes Militante said that the sample from the NBI is the fourth one they received recently.

Confirmatory

The NFA 7 received the laboratory test results on the three samples but Militante said the agency cannot divulge the findings to the public without confirmatory tests.

“There are two processes here. The laboratory analysis in our office in Cebu, and the confirmatory analysis in the NFA central office,” Militante said.

She said that the three samples submitted earlier came from consumers.

The taxi driver told the NBI that he bought 25 kilos of rice from a store in Cebu City last week.

Militante said that the NFA monitors synthetic rice, but the agency has yet to make arrests.

Responsibility

She said that licensed rice dealers are responsible for making sure they do not sell fake rice. “If they suspect that the rice they are selling is fake, they should submit at least two kilos (of the rice) to the NFA for laboratory analysis,” she said.

She said that rice dealers will be investigated if they are suspected of distributing fake rice.

Isidoro, on the other hand, said that the NBI needs certification from the NFA to be able to apply for a search warrant from the court.

He said, though, that the NFA can exercise its visitorial powers and examine warehouses and stores.

Isidoro said his superiors issued an order to monitor warehouses and stores that may be selling fake rice.

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