WFP denies reports its aid rice is inedible and substandard

WFP rice
A picture of the

22 May 2015 8:15 AM AEST: The world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger on behalf of millions has refuted allegations that the rice it provided to many earthquake-hit villages in Nepal is ‘inedible and blackened’.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has indicated there is no truth in claims that its aid rice to the survivors of Nepal earthquake was inedible. The southasia.com.au recently carried news reports based on information published by two separate Kathmandu-based vernacular dailies.

Both reports alleged the WFP rice distributed through Red Cross Nepal in Nuwakot and Kavrepalanchok districts was substandard and spoiled.

“In the Nuwakot case, WFP has investigated and found no evidence of inedible rice,” WFP communications officer Zoie Jones told southasia.com.au yesterday.

The allegations against the rice distributed in Kavrepalanchok are also not true, with ‘no evidence of inedible rice’, the communications officer for the humanitarian agency added.

WFP
Photo : WFP/Zoie Jones

Asked if WFP tested the quality of the rice before distributing among the quake-rattled population, Jones said, “During this emergency, samples of all food purchased by WFP is tested for quality and safety by an independent third party, Nepal’s Centre for Quality Surveillance (CQS). This testing ensures that the food we provide meets international standards for quality and safety.”

The WFP clarified that the CQS has tested a sample of the aid distributed in Kavre and ‘found the rice was edible and nutritious but had a slightly higher percentage of broken rice than the 25 percent quality standard’.

Jones said the UN body does not procure rice from the local supplier anymore.

A press statement issued by the WFP spokesperson yesterday said, “WFP’s stringent food quality standards are in line with the Government of Nepal’s regulations” and that “WFP takes food quality and safety extremely seriously.”

The UN body assists ‘some 80 million people in around 75 countries’ who stand in need of food.

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