Samuda says inability to cook may be reason for plastic rice panic

January 17, 2017

Agriculture minister Karl Samuda says that persons who would have been complaining about plastic rice may not be skilled in cooking the product.

Samuda, responding to questions in parliament on Tuesday, said that the Bureau of Standards has tested more than 100 samples of rice following claims that plastic rice reached Jamaica's shores. He said that the tests have not revealed any evidence of plastic rice.

"In every single instance there is not a trace of any contaminated material in the rice. Of course you have to learn how to cook rice in order to assess whether or not there is something suspicious. But notwithstanding the inability to cook the rice properly, we have nothing to fear," Samuda said.

North West St Ann Member of Parliament, Dr Dayton Campbell, said that by his response Samuda has "insulted over 100 Jamaicans that they can't cook".

A temporary ban was placed on the clearance of rice at all ports of entry following reports that plastic rice was found in Manchester. The ban was quickly lifted and the Bureau of Standards said it conducted several tests of rice across the island and found no evidence of plastic rice.

However, many persons appeared unconvinced that the Government was speaking the truth about the presence of plastic rice. Recently, Dr Campbell's colleague parliamentarian, Lisa Hanna, sent rice samples to the Bureau after she became suspicious about the grains.

"I had started cooking the rice yesterday. It cyaah cook, all we can do is roll it into a ball. We actually thought that the rice was burnt because we left it on the stove,” Hanna said in a video posted to Instagram

The Bureau, however, said that after testing multiple samples of rice submitted by the South East St Ann Member of Parliament it found no evidence of plastic or unusual behaviour in the samples.