Concern is growing among scores of Jamaicans following reports on Monday of a detention of rice imports at all ports across the island.
Sources revealed that many of the top rated restaurants in Jamaica who were hit by the ‘fake rice’ are now planning to develop a method to cook it properly so they can mask it as normal rice because they don’t want to lose all their money they spent to import the rice.
The clamp down on rice comes following speculation that a number of retail outlets were selling fake rice imports created from plastic. The product, according to international media reports, is mass produced in China
Local authorities told Paparazzi Jamaica that, while they have not been able to find any samples of the rice as yet, they were not taking the reports lightly and have organized a series of high level meetings. The latest meeting took place on Monday evening among representatives of state agencies including Bureau of Standards Jamaica, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Coming out of the meeting, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has advice that the organization has temporarily ceased the clearance of rice at all ports of entry.
“Checks and tests are now being carried out on the samples that were seized,” director of contraband at Jamaica Customs, Albert Anderson told us.
Anderson said, in addition to the testing, several operations would be carried out at retail outlets across the island. He said the checks would not target any one parish or location, but would look at outlets to ensure that the products were not being sold at the location.
Reports of the development has left a number Jamaicans worried.
“Right now, I am just really worrying about what I am hearing,” Sandra Smith, one resident in St Catherine, told Paparazzi Jamaica.
Similar sentiments were raised in Kingston by a resident who only identified himself as ‘Karl’.
“Not only are we hearing that this rice is fake but it is dangerous; I am just hoping that the authorities will be able to get to the bottom of this very soon,” said the concerned resident.
Another resident in Papine, who identified himself as Gamel Brown, said the development would make people very cautious.
“This just go to show that people should prepare their meals at home; no one knows what is being sold on the road,” said the Papine resident.
Reports are that the fake rice grains are made from a mix of potatoes and industrial synthetic resin. The fake rice grains look exactly like rice but remain hard after cooking.