The world is in Christmas mood, but Africa is in a panic mood following reports of plastic rice in Nigeria.
The high demand and low supply of foodstuffs this festive season is forcing unscrupulous dealers come up with fake food that pose a huge danger to consumers’ health.
In March this year, Interpol in conjunction with Europol seized at least 10,000 tonnes and one million litres of hazardous fake food and drinks across 57 countries.
This even as statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that at least 600 million people, or 1 in 10 worldwide, fall ill from contaminated food each year and 420,000 die, many of them young children.
It is on this basis that Dhahabu Kenya is giving you tips on how to detect fake rice on shelves even as you do your last minute Christmas shopping
Nigeria is not the first country to report fake rice in market. Singapore, China, Thailand and South Korea that are also fighting this scourge.
Plastic rice is made of common industrial raw materials. In the extrusion molding process, the plastic fibers are produced and cut into small pieces.
The cutting process is however tedious and expensive hence producers fail to get 100 per cent results.
It is difficult to notice plastic rice by merely running it through your fingers. However, if you look at it keenly, you will notice that it is slightly square shaped and not cylindrical like genuine rice.
Particles of plastic rice are slightly larger and when dropped on a flat object like table, they are likely to roll.
Although rice is either white or light brown in color, plastic rice is extremely pale white and the brown one tend to look purplish.
In order to fool consumers, unscrupulous dealers add chemical that smell like raw rice. The faint chemical odour on plastic rice is however much stronger
For those who did their shopping before the publication of this article, don’t worry, Dhahabu Kenya has some few tips to help you know if you bought genuine rice
Fake rice floats in water
Normal rice generally sinks in water. If you drop some rice in glass of water and notice that some rice is floating at the top of the glass that is definitely plastic rice
Plastic rice sinks in hot cooking oil
Normal rice floats in hot cooking oil. If you drop some rice in hot cooking oil and notice that it is sinking, there are high chances that you bought fake or mixed rice.
The last tip is common sense. Plastic smells plastic when dropped in fire.
So, before preparing rice for your family this Christmas, just drop few particles in your jiko just to be sure that you are not cooking fake rice
Dhahabu Kenya wishes you a food safety Merry Christmas.