Dock workers unload part of the 2,160 bags of Vietnamese rice on Thursday at the Eva Macapagal Port in Pier 15 in Manila. The shipment is part of the 500,000 metric tons scheduled for importation from Vietnam that will add to the country's stockpile.  (MNS photo)

Dock workers unload part of the 2,160 bags of Vietnamese rice on Thursday at the Eva Macapagal Port in Pier 15 in Manila. The shipment is part of the 500,000 metric tons scheduled for importation from Vietnam that will add to the country’s stockpile. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The government on Friday assured consumers that the incidence of fake rice being sold in markets remains isolated in Davao.

In a press briefing, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture (OPAFSA) said samples of fake rice reported outside Davao tested negative for dibutyl phthalate.

“There is no indication na merong ganitong klase ng bigas sa ibang lugar, but we will stay vigilant,” Food Security chief Kiko Pangilinan said.

The National Food Authority (NFA) has monitored more than 50 cases of supposedly fake rice and continues to receive around 20 complaints a day, NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay said in the same briefing.

The agency will continue monitoring the products sold in markets, including the legitimate corn rice and iron-fortified rice, Dalisay added.

The human body can tolerate the chemical found in fake rice as long as the ingestion is of minimal amounts, said Health Undersecretary Kenneth Go.

“Dibutyl phthalate is used in making flexible plastics that are found in a variety of consumer products.  It appears to have relatively low acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) toxicity,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

(MNS)