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Grains standards

Egay Uy .

THE CDO City Price Coordinating Council which I co-chair with Mayor Oscar Moreno recently met with the officers of the National Food Authority where members of the CDO-CPCC were briefed about the Philippine Grains Standardization Program.

This briefing is a result of the continuing collaboration between the city government through the CDO-CPCC and the NFA under the leadership of RD Nanding Nunez and ARD Gil Tabor.

Councilor George Goking and his staffers, and DTI-MOR’s Almer Masillones and Roxy San Juan were also in attendance, along with PSupt. Mardi Hortillosa, who is also an active member of the CDO-CPCC..

The PGSP is one of the major programs of the NFA in support of the rice production enhancement program of the national government.   And it is the NFA that is mandated to establish and enforce the national grains standards in collaboration with various sectors.

The PGSP has essential features such as quality standards that aim to standardize the quality of grains in the market according to the classification, variety and grade.

It also has packaging and labelling standards which regulate the size of packaging, the materials used, size and color of packaging and price tags.  It also has a set of color codes in the prescribed packaging.

Special rice should be packed in sky blue sacks while premium grade rice is required to be in light yellow.  White sacks are required for well-milled, regular-milled, and under-milled rice.  For shelled corn of all grades, light green sacks are required.

The type of material is specified to be woven polypropylene, and the sack must indicate certain required information such as classification of grains, variety, grade, net weight, name and address of miller, name and address of owner (if custom-milled), that the grains are iron-enriched.

Further dissecting these standards will take us to parameters such as purity, foreign matter, defects in kernels (chalky, immature, damaged), and moisture content, among other parameters.

For price tags, retailers are required to comply with the dimension, color, and the required information such as price per kilo, classification, variety which is required for special rice, the grade, and that the contents are iron-enriched.  The markings in these price tags must be black (contrary to the common practice of using white chalk).

As I have reported in an earlier column, the CDO-CPCC and the NFA conducted an inventory of rice in at least thirty warehouses in the city.  During these rounds, the CDO-CPCC took note of deviations committed by grains traders vis-à-vis the PGSP.

The noted deviations include re-sacking of grains, the absence of required information on the packaging, improper storage, and non-compliant price tags.

I reported these deviations to the NFA in the meeting last week, with an accompanying recommendation for the NFA to seriously look into them, and the violators be slapped with the applicable penalties or sanctions.

That rice is a major item in our dining tables cannot be overemphasized.  With this alone, compliance with the PGSP must be seriously followed through by the NFA.

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