Bureau of Standards Responds to Allegations of Contaminated Rice

Updated: February 10, 2016

Earlier in our newscast we told you of the allegation by businessman, Jitendra Chawla of the locally produced rice being contaminated with a cancer causing agent.  Chawla says he sent out sample of the grain to be tested and had forwarded the results to several agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Belize Bureau of Standards.  Just a few minutes ago we received a response from the Belize Bureau of Standards via email.  The release, signed by Jose Trejo, the Director of the Belize Business Bureau, reads, in part, quote, “In the first instance, the Bureau would like to categorically state that Mr. Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analysed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health. The Bureau and the Government is committed to ensuring food safety and health in Belize and categorically rejects any suggestion that they are not so committed.  It is regrettable that the commercial interests of one individual, veiled under the guise of food safety concerns, are being used in an attempt to erode the confidence in food safety which the people of Belize now enjoy.”  End of quote.  According to the bureau, this release was done in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health.