There are reports that China, a nation famous for ‘having all and making all’ has now taken a step further in the wrong direction with the mass production and distribution of plastic rice.
In each bag of rice, a small amount of real rice is mixed with the plastic rice, sprayed with a fragrance to mimic the smell of rice then packaged for commercial exportation to African countries which happens to be the continent with the largest Chinese rice consumption rate.
The plastic rice is reportedly made by forming potatoes and sweet potatoes into the shape of regular rice grains, then adding industrial synthetic resins. These fake rice grains look exactly like rice but remain hard after cooking and it is feared to be a major causative factor in gastritis and other stomach related diseases.
So far, experts say there is no scientific rice testing method developed yet to detect this artificial rice from the original ones produced at the various points of entry into countries. However, as Christmas, a season when the consumption of rice is considered to be at its peak in Nigeria draws closer, here are the simple home tests you can carry out to determine if your rice is fake.
1. The Water Test
Take a glass of water, drop a table spoon of raw rice inside it and stir. If what you have is the plastic rice it will float at the top but if the rice goes to the bottom, it is the real thing, good for eating.
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2. The Fire Test
Knowing what plastic smells like, take a hand-full of rice and burn it using match or lighter. If the rice is made with plastic, it will certainly release the plastic smell.
3. Boiling Test
Closely observe the rice while boiling it. If it contains plastic rice it will start forming a thick layer at the top of the pot.
4. The Fungus Test
After boiling the rice, put some of it in a bottle and leave for 2-3 days. If mold does not appear in a few days, your rice is fake and should not be consumed. It will not grow mold because plastic is not affected by weather or season. Plastic remains plastic.
5. Hot Oil Test
Just take some rice and drop into some very hot oil. If it’s plastic rice, it will melt and stick together a the bottom of the pot.