Liberia: Commerce Ministry Refutes Claims of UCI Plastic Rice
Monrovia – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has refuted reports of that a very rice is currently being sold on the Liberian Market.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]
The Ministry’s disproval comes in the wake of recent allegations of plastic rice being imported into the country by the United Commodities Incorporated (UCI).
UCI is one of five importers, granted the rights to import rice in Liberia by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The rice being talked about 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.’
But the Deputy Minister for Administration at Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wilfred Bangura, told newsmen Wednesday, August 29, that since news pop out about the rice being unsafe for consumption, the particular consignment was quarantined for testing.
Dep. Min Bangura, however, noted that recent scientific tests conducted by the National Standard Laboratory disproved allegations that the rice has 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,” Bangura said.
Minister Bangura noted that all the necessary experiments were conducted on the rice and results prove that the ‘pink-bagged’ rice under consideration is safe for consumption.
According to report from the National Standard Laboratory, a copy of which is in the possession of FrontPageAfrica, the United Grain Rice has a solid grain type, an ambient condition along with a normal room temperature of 25C.
The scientific result shows that during the test, sample of the rice was boiled and cooked as normal rice; it was free of filth, foreign matters and unpleasant smell making it safe for consumption.
He assured that the Ministry is committed to ensuring that various commodities coming to Liberia, especially food, are safe for consumption and will not do anything on the contrary.
At the same time, 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.
He refused to reveal the name of the importer under question on grounds that discussions are still being held with all importers, but assures that such name will be made public next week.
Minister Bangura then lauded all stakeholders and the public for the patience and cooperation during the period of investigation and experiment on the rice.
According to the Ministry, UCI is so far the highest distributors of rice on the Liberian market.
The Deputy Commerce Minister believes such allegation against one of Liberia’s highest rice importers does not augur well for the improvement of the Liberian marketing sector.
The Ministry of Commerce is the regulatory agency of government with the responsibility to regulate the market and protect Liberians from unsafe commodities coming into the country.