The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) has confiscated approximately 1,500 metric tonnes of paddy rice, valued at approximately $15 million, after it was deemed unfit for consumption.
Paddy rice is the unshelled form of the cereal, which is usually imported for further processing to make white rice, for distribution into the local commercial trade.
Senior Food Storage Scientist at the FSPID, Tamara Morrison, told JIS News that the rice was seized after a ship in which it was being transported, that docked at the Kingston Pier, was inspected by the department’s Food Storage Inspector.
The rice, which was imported from the United States by a local distributor, was found to be contaminated with what appeared to be dried out animal carcasses.
Ms. Morrison, who is also Head of the Agency’s Training and Information Unit, advised that a detention notice was placed on the rice and samples collected and submitted to the FSPID’s Rodent Biology and Control Laboratory for identification. The results revealed that the contaminants were the carcasses of rodents and frogs.
“Our observations would suggest that the carcasses got into the commodity prior to loading of the ship. This suggests that it was stored under unsanitary conditions,” she informed.
Ms. Morrison said the seizure is the first such for the year. She informed that the matter was discussed extensively with the consignee and a disposal notice served, accordingly.
Arrangements were made for the rice to be returned to the United States, she said, as “Jamaica does not have the facilities to handle such a large volume for disposal”.
Approximately one metric tonne of white rice, valued approximately $10,000,
which was imported during 201l, was confiscated and ordered disposed by the FSPID, after it was deemed unfit for consumption.
The FSPID is the regulatory department within the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, with responsibility for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of food entering commerce.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter