Social media has been awash with various reports accompanied with images, indicating the circulation of plastic rice on Ghanaian markets.
However, The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has rubbished claims that the Ghanaian market is flooded with plastic rice, contrary to assertions on social media. The FDA following circulation of videos on social media platforms, conducted laboratory test to ascertain the authenticity of the claim.
After conducting series of investigations and tests, the FDA came to the conclusion that there is no plastic rice on the Ghanaian market.
A press conference was organized by the FDA on Friday, June 23, 2017, to address the pertinent issues which have become an agenda for discussion on various media platforms. Speaking at the conference, the CEO of FDA, Mrs. Mimi Darko, said that tests conducted by the Authority prove that the rice currently on Ghanaian markets is authentic with very high starchy content.
Following the massive outcry, the International Food Safety Authority Network (INFOSAN) also investigated the issue. Per the findings of INFOSAN, the Rumoured artificial, plastic, fake rice, turned out to be real, authentic rice.
How to Identify Real Rice
Speaking further on its findings, the FDA took the audience through the elements of real rice and how to identify one. Speaking at the conference, the head of Food Safety Management at the FDA, Maria Lovelace-Johnson, gave the following clarification.
- There is no way plastic will not melt at boiling temperature during cooking
- Plastic cannot be molded at room temperature
- Real rice will cook at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius
- Since plastics require a much higher temperature to melt, plastic rice will remain as solid granules when cooked at 100 degrees Celsius
The FDA also answered questions regarding the bouncing of molded rice when it hits on a hard surface. With respect to that the FDA said that the textural properties of rice are due to the nature of their starch content which is influenced by their amylose and amylopectin ratio.
Amylopectin is responsible for the sticky nature of rice while amylose is responsible for its gelatinous and tough nature. A combination of these characteristics is responsible for the bouncing.
Plastic Rice Rumor
Information had been rife that most Chinese rice producers now resort to the producing rice granules from the illegal use of plastic. According to the earlier reports, the process involved mixing the said plastic rice with natural rice for commercial exportation to African countries including Ghana.
These reports were also accompanied with videos where individuals mold cooked rice and hit it against a wall. The rice when it bounced was tagged plastic rice, but considered natural when it disintegrated. The consumption of the said plastic rice was said to result in cases of gastritis and other stomach related disease.