Food & Drug Authority, Ghana (FDA).
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“Several videos on social media claim the existence of plastic rice, suggesting that these may be on the market and therefore a public concern. The Food and Drugs Authority became aware of these videos late last year and immediately commenced investigations to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the rumours. Using our nationwide market surveillance programme, we obtained random samples.
FDA issued a Press Statement requesting members of the public to assist by either submitting samples of the rumored plastic rice or giving information of where it could be found. We subjected all the samples received to laboratory investigation. Results from the laboratory analysis indicated that all the samples were in fact authentic rice, and not plastic. Consistent with our practice, we contacted our international partner, the International Food Safety Authority Network (INFOSAN) who were conducting investigations into the same issues. The INFOSAN‟s work revealed that: „‟Rumoured artificial, plastic, fake rice appearing in Singapore, Nigeria and Canada turned out to be real, authentic rice‟.
Furthermore, the more endowed member countries of INFOSAN such as Germany, USA, Canada etc, have sophisticated research outfits that are monitoring International trade in Food and sharing the information with its members. The rumor of plastic rice is not peculiar to Ghana. This is a sign of the times, and the effect of the increased access to information technology. There have been reports in the international media concerning “plastic” rice in Nigeria. This rumour has since been denied by the NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Nigeria) following its investigations. Similar reports have been recorded in the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Singapore and the United States of America (USA).
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ranks this artificial “plastic” rice as the ninth of thirteen (13) emerging risks, in its 2016 report on emerging risks. This notwithstanding, these rumors have not been confirmed, and in all jurisdictions, the regulatory authorities are monitoring rice imports from countries that are purported to produce this “plastic” rice. The physical and chemical properties of plastics are such that they ordinarily cannot be reconstituted into edible food. This is because plastics cannot absorb water and do not mix with water.