Fungus-tainted rice found in Phitsanuloke warehouse

A substantial amount of rice contained in gunny bags and stored at a warehouse in Phitsanuloke province was found to be tainted with fungal infection and believed rotten, Phitsanuloke governor Rapee Pongbuppakit said Thursday.

The tainted rice was uncovered during an inspection of the warehouse of Kaset Paisarntunyakit rice mill in Wat Bot district headed by the governor. The rice was from the 2012-13 harvests belonging to the Marketing Organisation for Farmers.

Governor Rapee said that officials would have to inspect more rice which have been kept at the other 68 warehouses in the province to determine whether the grains are still fine or have rotted.

The governor, however, admitted that the best the provincial administration could do was to check the amounts of rice stored in each warehouse whereas the quality issue would depend on the rice owner which is the MOF or the Public Warehouse Organisation, both under the Commerce Ministry.

About 16 billion baht worth of rice from two harvests have been kept in warehouses in Phitsanuloke province but only one official has been assigned to look after all of them, said the governor.

Phitsanuloke assistant governor Prateep Silpathet however said that only 10,000 sacks of rice were tainted with fungus caused by humidity.  But he assured that the rice inside the bags has not rotted yet.