The Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA) has dismissed rumours of a purported type of “plastic rice” being offered for sale on the Ghanaian market.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, Mr Hudu Mogtari, said the allegations of the sale and distribution of the said rice were false.
He said the FDA, as part of its mandate, had, in the past two months, undertaken post-market surveillance activities to investigate the said allegations.
A video that has been in circulation on social media over the past five months sought to suggest that large quantities of rice, containing plastic pellets, made in rice grain forms, purported to have been imported from China, were being offered for sale to the public.
The plastic pellets, according to the said video, had the potential to cause gastritis and cancer in humans who consumed them.
But Mr Mogtari told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that “plastics do not absorb water so on what basis would such be diluted with rice, which absorbs water and swells when cooked.”
He said the FDA was a member of the International Food Safety Organisation (IFSO), consisting of food regulatory agencies worldwide and that the international body would have notified its members, including the FDA if such products had found their way into the West African market.
“The FDA did not find any of the said ‘plastic rice’ on the market, and we wish to encourage the general public to report to the authority if any such alleged ‘plastic rice’ is found”, Mr Mogtari said.
He, however, assured the public that the FDA would investigate the claim if it found out that any individual or organisation was engaged in food fraud.
“We plead with the public to assist the FDA in this regard if samples of the said product were truly in circulation”, Mr Mogtari appealed.
The Deputy Chief Executive in charge of the Food Inspectorate Division of the FDA, Mrs Isabella Mansa Agra, told the paper that plastic pellets in rice would be easily identified by conducting physical examination of the grains.
“ What would be the reason behind the importation of any such product into the country by any wholesale trader in the commodity; for the purposes of food fraud?, she asked.
She said such additives could only be done in synthesised food which meant combining protein components with a number of polyunsaturated fatty acids considered to be essential to humans.