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Jitandra Chawla Says Local Rice is Contaminated

Jitandra Chawla better known as Jack Charles was last heard of in the recent rice saga when he attempted to have containers of Guyanese rice come onto the local market for a cheaper price than that of locally produced rice.  It was a failed attempt as he was not granted the permit to do so.  Today, he is back in the news after he sent out a press release claiming that the locally produced rice are not in accordance with the gazette publication from the Bureau of Standards, dated October 2015 on the Standards (Declaration of Compulsory Standard) Order 2015.  His release reads, in part, quote, “Based on this, the importer then took the responsibility to test the locally produced rice to see whether they met the requirements of the new Standard. The results then drew our attention that it was outside the limits set by the Standard especially those related to biological contaminants which are harmful to human health.”  End of quote.  In other words, Chawla is claiming that the locally produced rice has a cancer causing agent named aflatoxin.  He says the results of the test which he personally had done at the Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratories were sent to the Bureau of Standards and Public Health as well as to BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture on February 1, 2016.  It seems he has not gotten a response from any of the agencies and thus the release to the media.  Love News spoke with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche who says that he refuses to comment on Chawla’s allegations.  Meanwhile, attorney for the local rice producers, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, communicated with us via text message and says, quote, “The test results establish that Belizean produced rice is safe for human consumption. Mr Charles’ press release amounts to a libel on my clients’ good name. This latest desperate attack by the importer is misleading and calculated to cause panic in the Belizean community. It confirms what I said; he will do absolutely anything in order to make a profit by supporting imported rice.”  End of quote.  Jitendra Chawla, according to the tests’ documentation, had the Best Value Rice (Ruby) tested as well as the Circle R Premium and the Tropic Rice – Grade C.