This is as evil as it is worrisome. When the news of fake or plastic rice being shipped into Nigeria from China started making the rounds, it seemed like a rumour but with the warning issued by the Nigeria Customs Service on the 4th of October, 2016 and social media awareness, it has become obvious that the case of plastic rice in Nigeria is another cankerworm that is speedily eating through the fabrics of what remains of our people’s lack of compunction towards being a menace to the health and well-being of others.
The importers and distributors of the fake or plastic rice should be made to face the full wrath of the law. The must be a concerted and sustained effort to make sure there are no phone calls that will culminate to “settlements” which will see the perpetrators of this dastardly act out as free men and still carrying on with business as usual.
We all should be worried because as the highest consumer of parboiled rice in the West African sub-region, Nigeria has become a viable market for selfish and unscrupulous business men who exploit the Nigerian consumer’s lack of effort in querying products without verifiable nutritional data, to make profits regardless of the menace and grave health consequences of plastic rice. This hazardous plastic rice is made by using a mixture of sweet potatoes and synthetic resin (plastic) to form rice-like shaped grains which closely resemble natural grains of rice. This is certainly beyond, and worse than economic sabotage. It is sheer wickedness for people to take advantage of others in this manner.
There is a report that a few days ago, the Nigeria Customs seized 102 bags of the poisonous plastic rice branded, “Best Tomato Rice”. One begins to wonder how many bags of the fake rice have been sold and are already making their way into the homes of innocent and helpless Nigerians who still have love for foreign rice.
I have since embraced the local rice brands that abound in our markets today. And for those who still have reasons to patronise the foreign rice, it’s important that you make sure you are getting your money’s worth. It’s already the Christmas season and the demand for rice is very high.
The fire test:
Setting fire to a handful of rice and watch it burn and smell like burnt plastic is one way to confirm that you have the fake rice.
The water test:
If you pour a tablespoon of raw rice in a glass of cold water and stir, and the rice goes to the bottom, you have yourself the good rice. But if the rice floats at the top, it’s the plastic rice.
The fungus test:
Leave a small quantity of boiled rice in a warm place for like 2-3 days. If molds don’t appear on it, your rice is fake.
The boiling test:
Observe the rice while boiling. If it starts forming a thick layer at the top of the pot, it is ‘plastic rice’.
The hot oil test:
Take some of the rice and drop into some real hot oil. If it is plastic, it will melt or stick together at the bottom of the pan.
Knowing the difference between real rice and the fake or plastic one can save your life.