Lanka Sathosa Chairman T.M.K.B. Tennakoon yesterday said that the claims made on social media sites through a video alleging 05-2Lanka Sathosa was selling “plastic rice” had no basis in fact and were misleading the general public.
The Chairman said a sample of basmati rice purchased from the Pitakotte outlet of Lanka Sathosa will be sent to the Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo today to verify whether it is safe for human consumption.
When asked if Lanka Sathosa would push to get the results earlier than standard two weeks taken by the MRI to produce such a report, he said: “We will try because we need to sell this rice.”
According to him Lanka Sathosa has purchased a stock of 80 tonnes of rice from Pakistan on a tender called on 16 May and of that only 4 tonnes remain in the warehouse at present.
“We think it is a conspiracy. There is high competition in the marketplace with many players and this could be a conspiracy. We need to protect Lanka Sathosa,” he added.
He asserted that they would lodge a complaint in this regard with the CID and take legal action against those who tried to tarnish the image of Lanka Sathosa.
However, Tennakoon admitted that the country did not have a proper system or lab facilities to properly examine these kinds of issues. Nevertheless, in the future the institute will request a ‘country of origin certificate’ for imported consumer goods as a protective step to safeguard consumers.
He said currently imported items were only examined at the port by quarantine officials and that there was a risk for all imported consumer goods in this regard.
“The authorities are probing these matters because of the complaints we have got. Otherwise there are many consumer goods that go to the market without proper tests,” he stressed.
In addition to the social media video which has gone viral since 3 June, the authorities have only received two complaints in this regard.
He also showed journalists a freshly cooked pot of basmati rice from samples purchased from the Pitakotte and Makumbura outlets of Lanka Sathosa.