China's history with food safety is a rocky one, but even in the annals of robbery and abuse, this will go down in infamy.
Various reports in Singapore media have said that Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice made, in part, out of plastic, according to one online publication Very Vietnam.
The "rice" is made by mixing potatoes, sweet potatoes and plastic. The potatoes are first formed into the shape of rice grains. Industrial synthetic resins are then added to the mix. The rice reportedly stays hard even after being cooked.
The Korean-language Weekly Hong Kong reported that the fake rice is being sold in the Chinese town of Taiyuan , in Shaanxi province.
"A Chinese Restaurant Association official said that eating three bowls of this fake rice would be like eating one plastic bag. Due to the seriousness of the matter, he added that there would be an investigation of factories alleged to be producing the rice," Very Vietnam noted.
Unfortunately, it ' s not the first time fake rice has been sold in China , according to China's Global Times.
Previously, a company in Xi ' an , Shaanxi Province had added flavoring to ordinary rice to synthesize "Wuchang rice," which is regarded to be the best rice in the country.
About 300,000 people were injured and at least six infants died in 2008 when Chinese milk and infant formula was found to be adulterated with melamine, which was thought to help the milk pass nutrition tests. Later that year, melamine was also discovered in Chinese eggs.
A city-based reader yesterday handed Tuoi Tre a sample of rice she considers fake and which could be made of plastic.
“On February 17, I bought 1 kg of rice for VND10,500 from a peddler. The rice is slim and in ivory yellow. There were no broken grains in the rice.”
After cooking half a kilogram of the rice the same day, she found the cooked rice grains were just a bit larger than the uncooked ones and were separated with each other.
“The cooked rice grains could not be crushed … and after I held them tightly in my hands, they rebounded elastically as if made of rubber.”
The cooked rice was not sweet-smelling as boasted by the vendor. However, one day after it was cooked and put in normal temperature condition, it still did not get stale or change its color.
After examining the rice, Mr. Dao Quang Hung, an official from Horticulture Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, commented, “This rice looks very strange. I have never seen it before. However, we need to perform some physical and chemical analyses on the rice before concluding whether it is counterfeit rice or not."
“The grain length of the strange rice is about 10 mm, 3-4 mm longer than the normal rice, while in terms of width, the strange rice is much thinner. The best rice in Vietnam now is the 5 percent broken rice, while the strange rice has no broken grain,” he said.
In addition, unlike normal rice, the strange rice is totally transparent and has no opaque ‘seed’ in it, he added.Pending a conclusion from relevant agencies about this odd rice, Mr. Hung warned consumers not to buy or consume it.