Shopkeepers claim… SALES PLUNGE AFTER PLASTIC RICE SCARE
Some shopkeepers across the Corporate Area are lamenting that their rice sales have plummeted significantly since news broke that plastic rice is allegedly being sold to unsuspecting consumers.
"Mi know my rice is good because me cook it and eat it," shopkeeper Bevelyn Moody assured.
"But it not selling because of the fake rice that they have out there. The customers them a say them nah buy no rice because dem nuh want no plastic rice."
She added that in all of her six and a half years of operating La Pasada Groceries and Meats along Waltham Park Road, St Andrew, her rice sales have never been this bad.
"Them buy everything else, but them not buying the rice, trust me. From Sunday a only two pounds me sell, and it's somebody close to me buy it. Because them know me eat the rice mek them buy it," Moody said.
"Mi can't feel good about this because me spend money and me woulda like a return. Mi think it will pick up back after the authorities check the rice,"
Moody, who retails rice by the pound, said her customers are now requesting pre packaged rice such as the Alberta rice. However, like most small scale retailers, she does not sell that type, so customers are turning away.
Despite the reported decline in sales, Minister of Agriculture, Karl Samuda said at a press briefing on Tuesday, said, "I can assure the people of Jamaica that there is absolutely no evidence of any contamination of plastic within the samples tested."
But, like Moody, Ronald Johnson, who operates Rasta One Stop in Penwood Drive, Kingston, bemoaned that his rice sales have gone down by about 25 per cent.
"Black people love rice enuh, because a poor people food. But in all my four years at this shop, a first me see rice sales go down so," he said.
Instead, he said his customers have been looking into alternatives.
"Customers start buy more flour, so we wondering if them a go put plastic inna the flour now too. People also asking for the pack rice, the brown rice and the par boiled rice because them feel say it safer than the regular white rice weh sell by the pound," he said.
Similarly, Natalie Raymond, who has been operating her shop along Penwood Drive for more than 10 years, said she anticipates a decline in her sales of bulk white rice soon.