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The revelation of “Plastic Rice” being sold locally has intensified anxiety

The revelation of “Plastic Rice” being sold locally has intensified anxiety

The revelation that plastic rice is being sold in our local markets has understandably, induced some amount of anxiety amongst our citizens. This revelation means that our heath is at risk and in the absence of any official communication from the Ministers of Health and Agriculture the anxiety is intensifying.

The opposition is therefore asking for steps to be taken to guarantee the safety of our citizens. Our Ports must be properly monitored. Plastic rice and other hazardous products should not make it onto our shores.

In addition, the process for granting importation licenses must be transparent. There is also the need for effective traceability measures to be put in place. The bureau of standards needs to expand and improve its testing program to ensure that where there is a breach and hazardous products make it to our shores they certainly do not make it to our shelves.

Extensive research was done by former Ministers Tufton and Clarke about the growing of rice in Jamaica we need an update on that. Our citizens need to be encouraged to eat what we grow and grow what we eat. It is safer now, to substitute rice with other starch alternatives grown here.

There are no immediate side effects of plastic rice but if small quantities are consumed over a period of time it can affect the endocrine system, causing hormonal changes and also might lead to liver cancer. Our citizens therefore have to be careful. The plastic rice can not be identified when raw. However it can be recognised after cooking as it is thick and hard. Also, a sheet of plastic forms on the sides of the cooking vessel. The Government needs to consider safety measures to protect our citizens from consuming this rice.