LIBERIA – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Liberia has started investigations into the alleged availability of fake rice (rice made from plastic) on the Liberian market.
According to the NEWS, the move followed claims from social media that plastic rice was being sold in the country, prompting the ministry to contact all of its inspectors to probe the matter.
As part of the investigation, the ministry also contacted all rice importers to establish the authenticity of the report.
Commerce Minister, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh said there was no evidence of plastic rice in Liberia but not completely ruling out its absence on the market.
The ministry and the government through a collaboration with the national laboratory indicated their commitment to rid the country of unwholesome and substandard goods.
Tarpeh added that the government will be alert and vigorous to ensure that only goods of high standard are brought to Liberia.
The ministry’s disapproval follows allegations of plastic rice being imported into the country by the United Commodities Incorporated (UCI), one of five importers, granted the rights to import rice in Liberia by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The ‘fake’ rice is said to be labeled in a pink bag with an inscription written on it as ‘United Grain’, and at the same time bearing an ID ‘NSL/RS/792.’
The ministry said that since the news came up that the rice was unsafe for consumption, the consignment was quarantined for testing by the National Standard Laboratory, disproving allegations that the rice had plastic characteristic.
“The Ministry of Commerce is therefore pleased to announce to the public that the tests revealed that the sample of rice submitted is identical, organic and has a characteristic of normal rice and not plastic rice,” said Deputy Minister for Administration at Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wilfred Bangura.
According to report from the National Standard Laboratory, he United Grain Rice has a solid grain type, an ambient condition along with a normal room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Bangura disclosed that an investigation conducted by the Ministry has revealed, that one of the five rice importers in Liberia is behind the scheme spreading falsehood of the rice.