Isaac Adewole, minister of health, has urged Nigerians to be calm because there is no evidence that plastic rice is in circulation in the country.
Earlier in the week, men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had claimed that they seized a consignment of “plastic rice” in Lagos.
The claim, thereafter, sparked off a panic across the country.
But in a statement issued by Boade Akinola, spokesperson of the ministry of health, on Friday, the minister said that “there is no cause for alarm as Nigerians embark on the festive holidays”.
In the statement, Yetunde Oni, acting director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), who briefed minister, was quoted to have said that preliminary findings by the agency failed to validate the claim by the NCS.
“Following the reports on the seizure of ‘alleged plastic rice’, NAFDAC team of inspectors led by the Director Ports Inspection Directorate(PID) and Director laboratory services visited the Area Comptroller’s Office, Ikeja, Lagos and drew samples from the seized consignment for laboratory analysis,” Oni said.
“The products were in 25kg pack size with no NAFDAC number, batch details and manufacturing details of address of manufacture and date markings.
“The following preliminary tests and results were found to be in conformity with the specification for rice: Floating — negative, cooking — normal, odour — normal, colour- off-white rice grains , moisture -13.0 , pre-ashing — normal.”
Adewole said the laboratory investigation would continue while NAFDAC in collaboration with Customs would intensify vigilance and surveillance activities at all entry ports and borders.
He called on Nigerians not to panic as the relevant agency would keep Nigerians informed of any product injurious to their health.
However, he encouraged all Nigerians to buy local rice, which is cheaper and healthier than the foreign ones.