Consignments of ‘plastic rice’ reportedly produced in China and exported to various markets on the African continent are emerging in Liberia. though the government is taking proactive actions to avert this threat.
One of the nations penetrated recently by the dubious commodity is Nigeria, to where over 350 bags were exported, but seized by the country’s security apparatuses.
In an effort to avert the importation of this ‘plastic rice’ on the Liberia market, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has begun the awareness and sensitization of the plastic rice across the country through the media and its inspectors.
According to a press release issued yesterday by the Director of Public Affairs, Mitchell Jones, the ministry is concerned about this information on the social media and other platforms, which there have been attempts to obtain clarity from various trading partners.
According to Director Jones, some media institutions have reported the alleged sale of the plastic rice branded as “Best Tomato” within the commerce of Liberia.
“While the ministry can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such rice on the continent or elsewhere, it wishes to assure the public of the ministry’s determination to execute its statutory mandate of consumer protection,” he said
He said Liberia imports most of its rice from India, Thailand and United States of America (USA) but the ministry has similarly put in place measures to identify and detect any such threat to the public.
Director Jones also said all rice importers have been notified to adhere to standards and quality for the importation of rice in Liberia.
“As part of the process of acquiring rice approval, the National Standards Laboratory performs a periodic sampling and testing of rice to ensure that the quality requirement is met.”
Meanwhile, the ministry is informing its inspectors and Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) customs officers to alert authorities of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as other relevant authority about any sub-standard rice being imported by land, sea and air.
“We will also appreciate any information regarding said rice on the Liberian market, which may have been smuggled. Let’s help keep our citizens safe and healthy,” he added.