6 June 2024

The Medical Sciences Department confirmed today that the old “pledging scheme” rice, which has been stored in two warehouses in Surin province for about a decade, is safe for consumption, paving the way for the Commerce Ministry to auction off about 150,000 sacks of it through the Public Warehouse Organisation.

The department’s director-general, Dr. Yongyos Thammawut, told a press conference today that two samples of the old rice, one of 3kg and the other of 5kg, given to the department from the two warehouses for testing on May 10th were compared with two samples collected from the market.

The tests show that the old rice is free of aflatoxin andchemical residues and is still rich in nutrients, but the rice looks yellow and smells musty. Rice weevils and other insects were found in the rice, he said.

According to the acceptance standard for Thai Hom Mali rice, he said that the old rice does not pass, because of the insects and weevils it contains.

He explained that the quality and safety tests focused on the physical condition of the rice, such as its colour and alien matter content, the presence of toxic substances from fungi, residues of pesticides, heavy metals and nutritional content,such as Vitamin B1, carbohydrate, protein, fat, and humidity.

Dr. Yongyot insists that the department’s laboratory is up to standard, fully equipped with modern devices and highly accurate. It is also staffed by professionals, he said, adding that the tests are straightforward and independent.

He also claimed that the statement issued today by the department was not distorted and did not deviate from the results of the lab tests.

BIOTHAI, meanwhile, said on its webpage that several people had observed that it is regrettable that the Consumer’s Council was not allowed to test the old rice, because it could have further enhanced the image of Thai rice if its independent tests matched with those of the Medical Sciences Department.