Fake News of Fake Rice

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Johor Domestic Trade says allegation of ‘plastic rice’ false.

  • Tests showed no evidence of plastic rice
  • Selling fake rice in Malaysia not lucrative
  • Simple tests to determine if rice is fake

Johor Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry director Khairul Anwar Bachok said the allegation on social media that a supermarket in Kulai is selling ‘plastic rice’ turned out to be false

The ministry had probed into the complaint made by a 60-year-old man, who claimed to have purchased a 5kg pack of Beras Wangi Siam at RM21.85 on May 20 and suspected something amiss after cooking it. He alleged that it emitted a smell of plastic when he burned the rice to check.

“The Ministry has listened to the explanation of the branch manager and storekeeper. We have also checked the documentation and sent samples of the product for analysis.

“The report that came back last Thursday showed no evidence of plastic rice.

“The claims which had gone viral is untrue,” Khairul Anwar said.

Khairul said the public can lodge complaints via the ministry’s hotline at 1-800-886-800 or email eaduan.kpdnkk.gov.my or head to the Johor branch office.

Sin Chew Daily reported that the chance of fake or plastic rice being sold in the local market is slim, considering that the price of rice in Malaysia is among the lowest in the world.

According to Malaysia Rice Wholesalers Association president Ng Chee Len, there is simply no profit to make from selling fake rice in Malaysia.

He pointed out that based on the current prices, fragrant rice is retailed at between RM2 and RM5 (for the best imported ones) a kg, whereas sweet potatoes, one of the ingredients reportedly used to make fake rice, fetches RM6 a kg, making it not profitable to pass fake rice off as the real stuff.

Nevertheless, he said there are simple ways to identify fake rice, including soaking it in water as plastic rice would stay afloat.

“Of course, it is not easy to tell the difference between real rice and fake rice with the naked eye. Consumers can spot the differences in shape between the two with a magnifying glass,” he said, adding that not all the grains of real rice are of the same shape and size, which is also the case with manufactured plastic rice.

Consumers can determine if their rice is fake by carrying out any of the simple tests below:

Water test – get a glass of cold water, pour a tablespoon of rice into the glass and stir. If the rice goes to the bottom, it’s all good. If it floats at the top, it is plastic rice.

Boiling test – observe the rice while boiling. If it starts forming a thick layer at the top of the pot, it is plastic rice.

Blend test – blend a few grains of rice into powder. If the powder is white in colour, it’s real rice. But if it has a yellow discolouration, it may be fake.

Mould test – boil the rice and leave it in a warm place. If mould does not appear in a few days, the rice is fake.

Flame test – get a lighter and burn a handful of rice. If it catches fire and smells like burnt plastic, it is fake rice.