MANILA – The National Food Authority (NFA) has revealed that there is no fake rice in the Philippines, based on a series of laboratory examination that it conducted on various rice samples.

The NFA downplayed earlier reports of alleged fake rice in Davao and some parts of the country as its laboratory tests showed the samples taken from the alleged fake rice turned out to be just tainted rice.

NFA administrator Renan B. Dalisay told reporters that the 25-gram sample of allegedly fake rice from Davao City was found to have traces of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a chemical compound used in making flexible plastics.

Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Presidential Assistant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the reported fake rice in Davao was not fake but was only contaminated.

“It turned out that it was not fake. It was contaminated rice. It was mishandled,” Pangilinan stressed.

Authorities said the rice sample from Davao appeared fake due to the presence of dibutyl phthalate, which was inadvertently mixed with the rice.

With this, the NFA declared the Philippines as fake-rice free.

Earlier, an official of the Grains Retailers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Grecon) said the issue on the alleged proliferation of fake rice in some parts of the country is nothing but merely a strategy to divert the public’s attention from more serious issues.

Grecon Vice Chairman Teresa Alegado, who is also the mayor of Consolacion town in Cebu, said the fake rice issue is “illogical and makes no sense at all” because no trader would spend on something that is more expensive than the existing rice sold in the market.

“Who would do that? Anything added to rice is expenditure. Why should we do that?” Alegado asked.

While she did not mention any group behind the news about the fake rice, Alegado said the issue is just being used to try to divert the public’s attention from a more logical and reasonable issues that the country is facing.

Among the important issues she mentioned are the Bangsamoro Basic Law, proliferation of illegal drugs, and several political issues.

“We are sure that the issue on fake rice will just die down in the next few days,” she stressed. –