THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking into having rice packaged at the milling stage to comply with Republic Act No. 10611, or the Food Safety Act of 2013.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said that packaging by millers before rice is sent to retail outlets is “something we would like to look into,” and is subject to consultations.
The consultations will include how to implement truth-in-packaging safeguards.
“The food that consumers buy should be safe and one way of ensuring that the rice being sold in the market is safe and clean is to package it” upon milling to reduce handling and cut down the opportunities for introducing impurities, he added.
The DA could require packaging for quantities between 1 kilogram (kg) and 25 kg, which he said could involve an additional cost to consumers of about 50 centavos, in exchange for improved product safety.
Mr. Piñol said that packaging at mill level will also make it easier to track the sources of rice sold on the market.
“If the rice is packed, then we will have traceability. This means that if someone gets food poisoning, we know where the rice came from and who packed it,” he added. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato