Plastic rice! Are you serious?

Scare on social media gets the better of consumers as MTC staff cry foul over rice that was not properly cooked and consumers in Andhra return the foodgrain to shops from where they made purchases.

Published: 10th June 2017 04:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2017 04:38 AM   |  A+A-

Officials of Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration conducting raids at shops located in Kamarajar Salai in Madurai on Friday | K K SUNDAR

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: There was a commotion at the Aynavaram depot of Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) on Friday, over suspicion of ‘plastic’ rice being used at the canteen. However, officials from the MTC and the Food Safety Department said subsequent tests had proved that the rice was safe for consumption.

According to MTC sources, around 12.30 pm, technical staff at the depot went to the canteen run on contract basis to have lunch. But, they found the rice not properly boiled.

“A few staff rolled the rice into small balls and hit them at walls. They ricocheted, leading some to believe it to be plastic rice,” the source said.

Following this, the staff refused to eat and drew media attention to the poor quality of rice.

When contacted, an MTC official (headquarters) said, “Upon receiving reports, a team of MTC officials and those from the Food Safety Department visited the depot. Tests were done and the staff were reassured that the rice was safe.”

However, Metropolitan Transport Corporation unions were not willing to relent. “The rice from at least four other depots was of very bad quality. The staff had been repeatedly complaining. Higher officials must take serious notice of this issue,” said an office-bearer belonging to the DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front.

Over the past few days, Telangana, Karnataka, and Uttarakhand had reported about the presence of ‘plastic rice’ in the market

THE COINAGE

The term ‘plastic rice’ was coined by the online media around 2010, when China reported its use for adulteration of a premium rice called Wuchang, which is known for its aroma

GROUND REPORT

In TN, food safety officials have been inspecting rice mills and outlets. No cases of fake rice so far, says Food Minister Kamaraj

80 per cent drop in vizag rice sales

With social media post on plastic rice going viral, consumers in Visakhapatnam district in AP are returning the stocks that they bought from shops

Rs 3 crore loss for AP traders

Traders in Visakhapatnam district have lost sales worth Rs 3 crore in the last three days, according to district rice dealers association leader Nukaraju. Earlier, around 300 traders in the city procure 500 tonnes of stock daily

GLOBAL SCENARIO

Nigeria had confiscated some bags of fake rice that were imported from China in December last year, according to The Guardian report. It was found to be laced with chemicals and was sticky when cooked. No further incident has been reported in the media since then

HOW TO IDENTIFY PLASTIC RICE

  • Take a handful of grains and add some drops of tincture Iodine to it. If it imparts a dark blue colour, be sure it are original rice
  • Take a handful of rice and soak it in water. If the rice sinks to the bottom, you are safe. Go ahead as it organic. If it is plastic rice, it will float on water
  • Burn the rice grain. In case of plastic rice,  it will give a typical smell, which is not the original smell of starch
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