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Jamaica halts rice imports in response to artificial rice allegations

KINGSTON, Jamaica December 12, 2016 - The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) says it has temporarily ceased the clearance of rice at all ports of entry in response to reports that artificial rice is being distributed and consumed in the island.

This followed a high level meeting today involving several Jamaican Government agencies in response to reports that artificial rice is being sold in the country.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is advising consumers who have purchased the artificial rice to contact its office and take a receipt to show proof of purchase.

The agency made the announcement this afternoon amid complaints by several persons that they have been the recipient of artificial rice purchased at various commercial outlets in Jamaica.

The statement said members of the public are urged to call Jamaica Customs or the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and report if they have bought artificial rice or are aware of the places where it is being distributed so that steps may be taken for its removal.

It added that a public advisory will be issued on protecting the health and safety of the population.

The fake rice, which is at the centre of much controversy, is described as looking the same as rice, but has quite a bit of elasticity in nature.

In the meantime, the Bureau of Standards has said it is in possession of a sample of the 'plastic' rice, on which tests are being conducted.

The police has been called in to investigate the allegations, and the Contraband Enforcement Team will be meeting with the Food Safety and Prevention of Infestation Unit "to implement strategies in terms of product inspection and verification," Major Richard Reese, Head of Jamaica Customs, said today.

He added that the investigation will be approached "from a risk based standpoint, in terms of source of origin of the product."

In the meantime, Minister of Commerce Karl Samuda has initiated steps to gather more information on reports that artificial rice has found its way into Jamaican homes.

He said any action taken by the ministry will depend on the information it receives.

Last modified onMonday, 12 December 2016 18:02
  • Countries: Jamaica