Published: Saturday 24 December, 2016

Tons of Fake Plastic Rice Smuggled into Nigeria Worries Consumers

More than 100 sacks of fake rice / plastic rice have been confiscated in Nigeria. However, authorities worry that more have already been sold.

Plastic Rice

The purported plastic rice confiscated in Nigeria. (PHOTO: Martin Patience/Twitter)

The plastic rice scare is gripping parts of Nigeria after 102 sacks of fake rice were confiscated. Customs authorities said the plastic rice, labeled as Best Tomato Rice, was intercepted after reports that fake rice has infiltrated the market. Rice is the staple food in Nigeria and other neighboring countries.

According to BBC News, officials cooked samples of the confiscated rice and said it looked ‘gummy’ and emitted an chemical smell. Nobody dared to taste it.

Reports of plastic rice infiltrating the market is worrying a lot of consumers because it is very hard to detect. The fake rice looks identical to the naturally grown rice. Some Nigerians are worried that, if the fake rice is mixed with the real one, it would be impossible to trace. Moreover, the health risks are unimaginable.

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One consumer told CNN that she bought ten cups of the rice because it was cheaper. She thought she had a good deal. However, Kikelomo Adediti became suspicious when she started cooking it.

Normally, she said, rice would take 20 minutes to cook. But the one she bought was still hard after 30 minutes. She had to add more water. When it was finally ‘cooked’, it had a chemical smell. She said she discarded it thinking the rice was already expired.

There is no word on where the plastic rice came from. However, many suspect it had been smuggled from China where rice made of plastic pellets were reportedly found last year.

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But some officials say there is no reason to worry, yet. there has been no evidence that the confiscated rice is actually made of plastic, or even fake. Tests have been done to officially verify the makeup of the rice but results are not available yet.

But if it is really plastic rice or fake rice, what’s scary is this: Jerry Attah, the public relations officer for the assistant superintendent of customs, told CNN that 221 bags were originally consigned. Officials only confiscated 102 bags. That means 119 bags have already been distributed.