Contrary to claims by The Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that it has intercepted 102 bags of plastic rice branded “Beat Tomato Rice”, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has urged Nigerians to be calm, as there is no basis to substantiate claims of availability of plastic rice in the country.
The minister made the declaration after being briefed by the Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, he revealed that preliminary findings by the agency failed to validate the claims.
Recall that about a week ago, The Customs Area Controller of F.O.U. Comptroller Mohammed Haruna, in Lagos said that the commodity was stored for distribution as Yuletide gifts for the public.
Haruna said that officers of the unit intercepted the plastic rice along Ikeja area adding that a suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure.
He said, “Before now, I thought it was a rumour that the plastic rice is all over the country but with this seizure, I have been totally convinced that such rice exists.
“We have done the preliminary analysis on the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it.
“I advise those economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business.
“The unit has decided other operational modalities that will make them run for their monies and count their losses.”
However, Oni said “preliminary tests and results were found to be in conformity with the specification for rice:
“Following the reports on the seizure of alleged plastic rice, NAFDAC team of inspectors led by the Director Ports Inspection Directorate and Director Laboratory Services visited the Customs & Excise Area Comptroller’s Office in Ikeja, Lagos and drew samples from the seized consignment for laboratory analysis.
“The products were in 25kg pack size with no NAFDAC number, batch details, manufacturing details or address of manufacturer and date markings.
“The following preliminary tests and results were found to be in conformity with the specification for rice:
“Floating – negative,
Cooking – normal,
Odour – normal,
Colour- off-white rice grains,
Pre-ashing – normal.