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Why people believe the myth of ‘plastic rice’

Why people believe the myth of ‘plastic rice’

The rumours spread over the last few weeks in Senegal, Gambia and Ghana – and reached such a pitch that the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority decided to carry out an investigation.

They invited consumers and traders to submit samples of any rice brands they suspected of being made of plastic – and eventually concluded that there was no plastic rice being sold on the Ghanaian market.

Originating in China, rumours on social media have circulated since about 2010 of plastic rice being manufactured and mixed in with the real rice supply in order to trick consumers. The rumours were originally prompted by “fake rice” scandals, although they didn’t involve food made entirely out of plastic.

In one case, companies were passing off ordinary but edible rice as premium “Wuchang” grains. Then in 2011, reports emerged that rice was being produced with potatoes and an industrial sticky resin. The rumours were further compounded when a Chinese restaurant association official warned that eating three bowls of “plastic rice” was the equivalent of eating one plastic bag. Read more

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