The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of the Industry, Investment and Commerce Ministry has detained approximately 50 metric tonnes of imported rice, valued over $4.6 million, which was found to be contaminated with rodent faeces

Acting Deputy Food Storage Officer, Tamara Morrison said the contamination was confirmed following tests conducted at the FSPID’s Rodent Biology and Control Laboratory, on samples collected by the agency’s inspectors.

“On February 8 and 9, the FSPID conducted inspections of two 20-foot containers of long grain white rice which were packed in 1,000 45-kilogramme bags at the importer’s storage facility in Montego Bay. Where the commodity, which was shipped from Suriname for local distribution, was being kept,” she said.

Morrison indicated that the contamination was determined to have occurred prior to the arrival of the rice, and further indicated that this was the first time that rice imported by that consignee was found with contaminants.

She said the implications of the findings, including health risks, were discussed with the importer, adding that, “these factors formed the basis for our decision to dispose of the commodity”.

“A Condemnation Order for disposal, in accordance with the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation (FSPI) Act and Regulations was subsequently issued. Arrangements are now being made to dispose of the rice at a designated location by the end of this week,” she declared.

Morrison further said that under the circumstances, no other action will be taken against the importer.