Chamber Denounces Allegations on Rice Safety

As we have reported, the man interested in importing Guayanese rice for sale to the Belizean public at a cost lower than local rice issued a statement earlier this week. In that statement, Jack Charles alleges that Belizean rice is unsafe due to the aflatoxin levels. Charles also supplied the media with lab test results of some of the locally produced rice brands. Today, the Chamber of Commerce issued a statement condemning the allegations on rice safety.  The release says, “The FDA and other Food Safety agencies in developed countries have set allowable [safe] limits for aflatoxins in all foods, including milk. According to the report sent to the media, the tests allegedly carried out on Belizean rice samples found aflatoxins to be well within those limits and therefore safe for consumption. BAHA’s requirement that the rice be ‘free of microbiological contaminants and chemicals’ is interpreted as requiring levels within allowable limits such as those stipulated by the FDA.  These accusations are clearly without merit, and obviously meant to cause consumer panic without any care for potential damage to the Belizean economy, the reputation of the rice industry or BAHA’s institutional reputation.”  The Chamber release also says, “ Issuing such an inflammatory report on the rice industry is irresponsible and clearly intended to force an opening for rice importation.  Belizean consumers have a right to benefit from honest competition which encourages quality and beneficial pricing. Belizean producers who contribute to our economy should not find themselves disparaged by spurious allegations made purely for competitive gain.”

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