Awareness spared Boholanos from the fake rice phenomenon gripping consumers in some areas of the country amid the social media hype.
Gov. Edgar Chatto himself, assured new-comers and visitors in Bohol that the folks here are well acquainted with a number of genuine rice varieties, having grown in a rice-producing province.
In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle last night, Chatto expressed confidence that Boholanos can distinguish well fake rice from genuine one.
“Bohol is a rice producing province and the Boholanos are very discriminating as far as the taste of rice is concerned. That’s why we couldn’t be fooled if the rice served before us is fake,” according to Chatto.
The governor added that Bohol’s self-sufficiency in the supply of rice spared the province from the entry of suspiciously cheap rice which could camouflage in rice imported from other areas.
“We don’t really need to import suspiciously cheap rice. In fact, we are exporting specialty rice to other provinces,” Chatto added.
The pink rice from Bohol has been notably best seller in Cebu, per records at the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office in Cebu, citing its health benefits and good taste.
While Bohol has enough supply from local production, the National Food Authority (NFA) still has to maintain buffer stock.
NFA Provincial Manager Maria Fe Evasco, for her part, said that NFA-Bohol and all over Central Visayas rely on imported rice for “buffer stock”.
Evasco also assured Boholanos that no fake rice had entered Bohol market, based on their field monitoring.
In an interview with dyRD Inyong Alagad, Evasco assured that there has been no plastic or synthetic rice being monitored in Bohol.
She explained that it is very easy to distinguish fake rice from genuine rice, because it can be noticed on the appearance although at first glance their shape and size are perfectly identical with each other.
At first glance, the consumer can observe that the typical characteristics if the grain is really rice or just a plastic imitation.
Evasco advised the public to note on the presence of the light brown streaks on the sides of grains to determine that it is from palay, except in over-milled rice.
The brownish streaks are apparent on regular or well-milled.
Evasco also advised those who are suspecting that the rice they had bought are fake to bring samples to their office so it can be checked.
NFA observes the standard procedure to send the samples to its Food Development Center in Manila which is equipped with complete laboratory equipment.
Evasco also shared that there was one consumer who called her about the rice he had bought which he suspected to be plastic rice.
She said she advised him to bring a sample of the grains to their office so they can check it.
USAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The concerned consumer narrated that the posts on social media alarmed him which prompted him to be cautious.
The alleged proliferation of plastic rice went viral again since two weeks ago after somebody posted on Facebook about it.
There are even posts about plastic eggs, plastic noodles, and other fake products such as counterfeit candies.
Evasco said she herself recently came across a post on FB about plastic egg.
The circulation of information about plastic rice hit the social media and even the national news two years ago, citing experiences in Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Dumaguete City and some areas in Negros Oriental.
As to the concerns on the effect of the pest control measures on rice being stored in NFA warehouses, she clarified that all NFA offices observe the international standards in storing rice that assures the public all rice supply coming from them are safe for human consumption.
In 45 years that NFA has been operating, there has been no incident of poisoning reported which is what is being feared as consequence of fumigation on imported rice that need to be stored in NFA warehouses as buffer stock, according to Evasco.
She said NFA follows international standards and that the stock imported from other countries also undergo the standard procedure in quality control.
All the stock that the country imported came from Vietnam and are all safe for human consumption because NFA does not import trash.
She said it is not chemical treatment per se, but some pest control measures to prevent infestation and it is within the international standards.