NFA impounds rice imports from Vietnam

January 31, 2010 12:24 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Jan. 30 — The National Food Authority (NFA) has immediately sealed off the 20,000 bags of rice previously unloaded from MV Trai Thien 66 to pave the way for an investigation on the reported findings of ammonium sulfate mixed with the rice shipments from Vietnam.

NFA Administrator Jessup Navarro on Saturday said he has also ordered a halt in the unloading of the shipment balance until the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) completed the analysis of the substance mixed with the rice shipment.

He has also committed to fully cooperate with PDEA and other government agencies in charge of combating illegal drugs until those responsible for the reported shipment of are finally captured.

MV Thrai Thien, which directly sailed from Vietnam, was loaded with 76,000 bags of imported rice intended for Bacolod City.

Navarro said exporting countries like Vietnam directly chartered ships to deliver their rice cargo to the Philippines which were then unloaded at various ports nationwide.

He said that it was the NFA’s quality control officer who discovered the substance in the shipments.

"It is a strict policy of the NFA to continuously conduct random sampling of rice shipments to check if the imported rice adhere to the required quality specifications before unloading them from the vessel," he said.

Navarro said the NFA immediately alerted the Bureau of Customs (BOC) upon the discovery of the other cargo aside from rice, which was supposed to be its exclusive load.

The BOC, in turn, notified the PDEA for the appropriate analysis of the bags of ammonium sulfate mixed in the shipment. (PNA)

RMA/LGI

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