The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) says it has informed all rice importers in the country to adhere to standards in the importation of quality rice to the country.
According to a release from the ministry, some media institutions have reported the alleged sale of “plastic rice” in Liberia.
While the ministry said it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such rice on the continent or elsewhere, it assures the public of its determination to execute its statutory mandate in protecting consumers.
The ministry indicated that Liberia imports most of its rice from India, Thailand and the United States, but that it has nonetheless put in place additional measures to identify and detect any such threat to the public.
“Amid allegation of the sale of plastic rice within the commerce, the National Standards Laboratory tested the Butter Brand White Rice on Tuesday, 4 July 2017,” a press release said.
“The test results showed an organic sample that has the characteristic of normal rice,” the release said.
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, the ministry said.
“All commerce inspectors and LRA Custom Officers have duly been informed to alert the authorities of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as well as other relevant authorities about sub-standard rice being imported by land, sea, or air,” the MOCI said.
The ministry added, “We will also appreciate any information regarding said rice on the Liberian market, which may have been smuggled into the country.”
According to the ministry, since the revelation of this information on social media and other platforms, there have been attempts to provide clarity from various trading partners.
“Please call the hotlines below to report any issue regarding plastic rice: Lonestar 9911; Orange 6624; and Novafone 991,” the release said.