Naija Foodie Update


On October 4, 2016, the Nigeria
Customs Service (NCS), through
its spokesman, Wale Adeniyi,
warned the citizenry to be on
red alert, as intelligence report
indicated that some die-hard
rice smugglers have begun
shipment of plastic rice to Africa
from China in what was clearly a
selfish move aimed at swelling
their profits, regardless of the
consequences of their poisonous imports.

He likened the food fraudsters to fake drug dealers who do not mind poisoning an entire community as long as they make huge profits from their unwholesome trade.
Though the warning about the
food crime sounded like a wild
joke, it was important because
Nigeria remains the highest
consumer of parboiled rice in
the West African sub-region.

This means there was a possibility that the bulk of the cancerous shipment would be emptied in the country through scores of unmanned borders from where smugglers invade the markets with their man- made rice.
The NCS warning, however,
confirms a recent report by
Natural News and Korean Times
that alerted that China was mass
producing plastic rice for huge
profit, pretending it was not
aware of the grave health

According to the publications,
the plastic rice is made using a
mixture of sweet potatoes and
synthetic resin (plastic). These
ingredients are mixed together
and formed into “grains” which
very closely resemble natural
grains of rice.

The rice substitute is then sprayed with a fragrance to mimic the smell of Wuchang rice (a more
expensive brand in high demand), making it difficult to decipher between the two brands. The man-made rice looks just the same as the real deal in terms of shape and size; however, the plastic remains hard after cooking, a development nutritionists say is
dangerous to the human body.

The wuchang rice also looks like
some basmati brands from the
Indian sub-continent. It is a well-known fact that some companies use chemicals in their foods, but China’s synthetic rice, according to
reports, is fraudulently taking
the danger to a whole new level,
according to a concerned Nigeria, who prefers to be anonymous.

“It is thought that China has
been producing this fake “Wuchang rice” for at least four
years. One Chinese official warned that eating three bowls of this man-made rice would be equivalent to ingesting one
plastic bag”, the report stated.
Findings show that China, having enjoyed patronage in Asia, have shipped the inorganic rice into various African nations, especially Nigeria, where consumers rarely query products without verifiable
nutritional data.

More so, as the yuletide season
peaks, with millions of Nigerians
warming up for various celebrations, foreign rice consumption triples and the
Customs says smugglers would
latch on that window to flood
rice hubs in Daleko, Lagos, Onitsha in Anambra, Aba in Abia, Abuja and other major markets with contaminated rice which they had stored poorly for ages awaiting sales opportunities presented by the Christmas and New Year

While many Nigerians underrate
the audacity of smugglers who
could stop at nothing to eke out
a livelihood, findings show the
Customs intelligence has began
to crystallise as some people are
beginning to see tiny pieces of
rice-shaped plastics delicately
mixed with the real white
basmati or Wuchang rice
consumed mainly by the higher
income earners in the country.
A 50kg parboiled rice sells for
N22,000 on the average but for
the adulterated wuchang rice, it
is more than double of the
stated amount.

The price disparity made the
staple food an attractive
commodity to the smugglers
such that they could adulterate
the basmati brand and make
huge profit from its sales.
Though no seizures on plastic
rice have been recorded by
either Customs or NAFDAC,
Nigerians have been told to be
cautious when buying the
staple food, especially those on
packaged as ‘basmati’.
Daily Sun’s investigations reveal
that lately, some rice dealers in
Lagos have started receiving
queries from worried customers on their shocking discovery of floating pieces of plastics whenever they wash their lovely ‘basmati’ rice prior to cooking.

A housewife in Ajao Estate in
Lagos, Toyin Oseni, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun lamented: “I bought basmati rice from the market.
But when I opened it and took
some to wash before cooking, a
good portion of it floated, while
some sank.


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