MANILA — Bayan Muna Partylist Reps. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate and Neri J. Colmenares have asked the House of Representatives to investigate the proliferation and trade of fake or synthetic rice in the local markets.
In House Resolution 2209, Zarate said the House Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Special Committee on Food Security should probe the issue in aid of legislation to put an end to the nefarious activity, which is an additional burden both to the rice-producing farmers and the consuming public.
Citing news reports, Zarate noted the entry and proliferation of fake rice particularly in Barangays Matina Aplaya, Mintal, Buhangin, and Cabiantan in Davao City and in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.
Residents in the areas and nearby localities who purchased the suspected fake rice were not able to tell the difference because it has the same texture, color, and shape of regular rice, Zarate said.
However, when the fake rice, which was passed of as regular rice, was cooked, it had the appearance of Styrofoam, Zarate said.
According to Zarate, the National Food Authority (NFA) in Davao found out that the suspected fake rice came from Bansalan, Davao Del Sur and was stored in unmarked and unlabeled sacks.
Zarate, quoting reports, said fake rice was allegedly manufactured in China and brought into other Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. It was said to be a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes and synthetic resin or plastic, which is the same material used to make pipes and cables, reports said.
Colmenares expressed concern over the proliferation of fake rice saying it is certain to attract buyers despite its possible health risks because it is sold at cheaper prices.
“Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesperson of the Department of Health (DOH), cautioned the public in consuming fake rice as it may cause diarrhea and vomiting, and could lead to other complications like cancer,” Colmenares said.
Rice, which is one of the most important commodities in the Philippines, is the staple food of almost 90 percent of the population.