MOCI: ‘No Plastic Rice on Liberian Market’

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Commerce Inspector Josephine Davis (R) and Minister Wilson Tarpeh (middle) at a press conference in Monrovia.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) says that its investigation into reports of the alleged presence of ‘plastic rice’ on the Liberian market revealed that the information is false.

It can be recalled that on Monday evening, August 21, 2018, a video alleging the sale of plastic rice in Liberia went viral on social media, claiming the attention of stakeholders, ordinary Liberians and foreign residents.

According to Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration, Wilfred J. S. Bangura, the situation further led the MOCI, being the agency of government responsible to regulate the market and protect the Liberian people, to swiftly convene a meeting of rice importers to investigate the allegation.

At that meeting, Minister Bangura said, the ministry decided to quarantine the consignment of the United Commodity Incorporation (UCI), pending the release of the scientific test carried out at the National Standards Laboratory (NSL).

“MOCI through the NSL, conducted a conformity assessment test from Friday, August 24 to Tuesday August 28, 2018 on the UCI product, named United Grain with ID: NSL/RS/729,” Minister Bangura said.

According to him, the test revealed that the sample of the rice submitted is identical, organic and has the properties of rice and the sample is not plastic rice.

“The pink-bag rice under consideration is safe for consumption. We want to thank the stakeholders and the public for the cooperation shown through this period. Again, we are committed to ensuring that commodities brought to our markets are safe for our people,” he said.

Deputy Minister for Commerce and Trade Services, A. E. Nyema Wisner, said the ministry has received information about who was behind the alleged plastic rice video and the person will be brought to book.

“We will bring the alleged perpetrator to book by the eighth of September. The investigation is currently ongoing. We want to assure the people of Liberia of the ministry’s commitment in ensuring that foods on the market are consumable,” he added.

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