Thai retailers deny dangerous chemicals in packed rice

PHOTO: Thai retailers deny dangerous chemicals in packed rice

THAILAND - Quality assured as TRA tells social media users to stop spreading rumours Major modern retailers yesterday rejected allegations circulating on social media that they are selling packed rice that has been stored for a long time and has been treated with substantial amounts of anti-fungal and anti-weevil chemicals, which can be dangerous to consumers.

Their assurances of the quality of their rice products were backed up by the Thai Retailers Association (TRA), which urged social-media users to refrain from spreading unfounded rumours.

Kudatara Nagaviroj, director of corporate affairs for Big C Supercenter, said it carefully selected its five suppliers of packed rice to ensure their products adhered strictly to international standards.

"Our [brand] directly represents our customers' trust. The quality and safety of our products are our top priority and will never be compromised. We inspect and audit our rice suppliers frequently and regularly on stocking procedures, packing processes and food-safety compliance," he said.

Quality-control at big C

Kudatara said Big C's quality-control measures were in accordance with the standards stipulated by the Consumer Protection Board and the Ministry of Commerce. Its rice is certified safe and of high quality by the ministry.

"We would like to urge the public to exercise judgement when receiving or forwarding social-media messages. The public should look for factual information as well as trustworthy sources of information," he added.

Salinla Seehaphan, corporate affairs director for Tesco Lotus, said food safety was of the highest importance to the company.

"We have applied strict and end-to-end quality controls on our packed rice, which includes regular checks of finished products, to ensure that our rice products are completely safe for consumption," she said.

The TRA issued a statement to confirm that the rumours were not based on facts.

"The TRA would like to confirm that all of its members have applied strict international standards in selecting suppliers for their packaged rice products. This includes inspecting factories, storage and manufacturing processes as well as regular checks of safety and quality of the products.

"All selection and auditing processes are in compliance with regulations issued by the Consumer Protection Board and Ministry of Commerce on standards of rice products and certified Hom Mali rice.

"The TRA requests that consumers refrain from passing on any information that has no clear basis in fact or any supporting evidence. This may cause confusion, would not be beneficial to any party, and would also affect confidence in Thailand's agricultural products as a whole," the statement said.