THE NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) said on Wednesday that its 132,400 bags of rice infested by weevil or bukbok, imported from Thailand and docked at the Subic Bay Freeport, has been given clearance by the Plant Quarantine Service (PQS) of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) after it has undergone fumigation.
The certificate stating that the rice is fit for human consumption was given on Sept. 10 by PQS Central Luzon Regional Manager Ronnie M. Manuel, the NFA said.
The rice was treated by BPI-accredited fumigator SSI Chemical Applications, Inc.
“The 132,400 bags rice shipment is part of the 160,000 bags allocated for distribution in Central Luzon. This will beef up the inventory of NFA rice in the agency’s warehouses in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales, Tarlac, Bataan and Aurora,» the NFA said in a statement.
“If the weather permits, unloading of the rice shipment is expected to resume on September 13 for delivery to NFA warehouses,” it added.
The NFA has faced complaints after its stocks were found to be infested by weevil, for which lawmakers have criticized the agency aside from its failure to procure rice leading to insufficient supply in the market, resulting in higher prices of commercial rice.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol has said that weevil-infested rice does not pose any threat to human health and is fit for consumption if washed properly, for which he also received public criticism. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio