Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has denied claims by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that there is plastic rice in Nigeria.
On December 21, 2016, Customs said it seized 102 bags of plastic rice branded “Beat Tomato Rice’’ with no manufacture date.
Yesterday, the minister responded to claims about the presence of plastic rice in Nigeria.
For some weeks, reports in social media claimed plastic rice had allegedly been imported massively into the country.
In two tweets, yesterday, through his twitter handle; @IsaacFAdewole, the Health minister said preliminary tests and results proved no rice in the country was plastic.
He noted that some of the impounded rice, when cooked, had “normal odour,” “normal colour” and was “off white.”
He added that the Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Oluremi Oni had also informed him that there is no such rice in Nigeria.
How to identify plastic rice
- Water Test: Get a glass of cold water, pour a tablespoon of raw rice in the glass and stir. If the rice goes to the bottom, it is all good. If it floats at the top, it means it contains ‘plastic rice’.
- When molding a few grains of rice with a mortar and pestle, if the powder gives a quite white colour, it’s fit for consumption but if it has a yellow discoloration, it is fake.
- Boiling test: Observe the rice while boiling. If it starts forming a thick layer at the top of the pot, it is plastic rice.
- Hot oil test: Take some of the rice drop into some real hot oil, it will melt or stick together or stick at the bottom of the pan if it is fake.
- Fire test: Get a lighter and burn a handful of rice – If it catches fire and smells like burnt plastic, it is fake.
- Mold test: Boil the rice and leave it in a warm place for like two to three days. If mold does not appear in a few days, the rice is fake. It will not get mold because plastic is not affected by the weather or temperature.
On Wednesday, December 21, the NCS announced it confiscated 2.5 tonnes of “plastic rice” smuggled into the country.
Lagos Customs chief, Haruna Mamudu said the fake rice was intended to be sold in markets during the festive season.
He said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and “only God knows what would have happened” if people ate it.