THE National Food Authority (NFA) said the rice distributed as an allowance to teachers has passed quality tests, after a legislator alleged that the grain was of poor quality.

In a statement late Wednesday, the NFA’s Central Luzon (Region III) office said laboratory tests found the rice to be “edible, in good condition, and safe for human consumption.”

The regional office added that it has not received complaints about the rice.

On Tuesday, House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers’ Party-list Rep. France L. Castro said she wants an investigation of reports that rice distributed in Nueva Ecija, Mindoro, Bacolod City, and Zamboanga del Norte was “inedible.”

She said the rice was supposed to be distributed last year. Many teachers have yet to receive their rice allowances despite being asked to sign an acknowledgement receipt, she said.

The NFA Region III office said rice is typically released after being certified as being of good quality and exact weight by a receiving agency.

“The focal person of each agency-beneficiary is requested to witness the actual rice issuance to confirm the quality and exact quantity in bags and in weight based on the provided number of qualified agency-beneficiaries,” it said.

NFA Administrator Roderico R. Bioco said the procedure for releasing rice also involves laboratory analysis to ensure quality and safety.

“We have distributed (over) 300,000 sacks and so far, we received no requests for replacement or verified complaints,” he said.

The agency noted that any smells may be the result of the period of storage for some rice held by the NFA as buffer stock.

In an administrative order signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., in December, all government employees, including public school teachers, are entitled to a one-time rice allowance.

The Department of Budget and Management released P1.18 billion for the program in April.

Members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress called for an investigation into the allegations via House Resolution 1082 filed on Wednesday. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera