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Councillor defends the issuing of MannaPack Rice in schools

Published:Saturday | November 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
MannaPack Rice
Councillor George Moodie of the Ensom City Division of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation displays a prepared dish of the controversial MannaPack Rice.

As the issue of whether the products from Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) has been replaced by the imported MannaPack Rice continues to unfold in the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Ensom City Division, George Moodie, has defended the issuing of the product, saying it is a nutritious supplement and not a replacement for the nutribuns, milk and juice supplied by NPL.

Moodie, who had vowed to address the issue at last Thursday's general meeting of the municipal corporation with evidence of the value of the imported rice, and what he described as a mischievous attempt by Peoples' National Party councillor Roogae Kirlew of the Above Rocks Division to malign the Government, was earlier in the meeting prevented from doing so.

However, in an interview with The Gleaner, Moodie, who is also a school principal, said Kirlew's assertion at last month's general meeting that the Government had scrapped the national nutrition programme of providing bake products and sachets of milk and juice to students islandwide, under a school-feeding programme operated by Nutrition Products Limited, was false and misleading.

"I want to make it clear that Nutrition Products Limited is still providing products to our schools and the Manna Rice is a very nutritious supplement to the programme," said Moodie, while displaying a container with some of the MannaPack Rice he had personally prepared for his presentation.

"This product has tremendous nutritional value and should be encouraged for the benefit of our students. My colleague's attempt to discredit the product and malign the Government is purely political," observed Moodie.

Meanwhile, in a statement from Nutrition Products Limited, the company charged with the responsibility for the production and distribution of nutritious snacks to schools islandwide, it was made clear that the company currently operates a school-feeding programme that provides bake products, milk and juice to over 1,000 schools at a minimal contribution.

The statement further described the company as a statutory body functioning under the portfolio of the Ministry of Education, funded directly by the Government and assisted by local and international donor agencies.