THE NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) said that it is open to any investigation that may be conducted after reports surfaced about the foul odors of rice stock issued to some legislators.

NFA Administrator Judy Carol L. Dansal said that the agency will welcome any probe by the Department of Agriculture (DA) or any other government agency to check the quality of rice stocks in its warehouses.

“We assure the public that the rice we distribute are fresh from the rice mills which we contracted to mill our palay stocks,” Ms. Dansal said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar recently said that he will look into allegations that the NFA rice given to some legislators for their relief distribution had a foul smell.

Local NFA officials have denied the allegations and guaranteed that all of the rice released is of good quality.

Meanwhile, to protect and preserve the quality of its rice and palay (unmilled rice) stocks, the NFA said it implements good warehouse keeping practices and stringent stock quality management which adhere to international standards for food safety.

As of May 12, NFA rice sales for relief distribution were at 3.431 million bags, with 85% or 2.918 million bags bought by LGUs.

“They prefer NFA rice because of its good quality, which is comparable to commercial rice in the market. Moreover, its price — at P1,250 per 50-kg bag — is way below the commercial price. Since the start of rice distribution for relief, we have not received a single report or complaint on the NFA rice quality,” Ms. Dansal said.

Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law in 2019, repealed the NFA’s rice importation and regulatory functions. The law limits the NFA’s mandate to maintaining buffer stocks for calamities or emergencies with the rice coming from local farmers. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave