Is China Manufacturing Plastic Rice?
From toxic toys to tainted milk, there are many reasons for people to be wary of the “Made in China” label.
But if a new story emerging from media outlets in Singapore and Hong Kong is accurate, it proves that things can always get worse.
The website Very Vietnam (and several others) recently reported that a type of “rice” made from a combination of potatoes and plastic resin is being distributed in the Chinese town of Taiyuan, in Shaanxi province.
From the article:
“It is formed by mixing the potatoes and sweet potatoes into the shape of rice grains, then adding industrial synthetic resins. Since the rice does not behave like normal rice, it stays hard even after it has been cooked. Such synthetic resins can also be very harmful if consumed.
A Chinese Restaurant Association official said that eating three bowls of this fake rice would be like eating one plastic bag. Due to the seriousness of the matter, he added that there would be an investigation of factories alleged to be producing the rice. Meanwhile, the low cost of the fake rice is allowing wholesalers to make large profits.”
The International Rice Research Institute reports that residents of Hong Kong alone consume 7 million bowls of rice every day.
While undoubtedly cheaper than growing, harvesting, and distributing actual rice, it doesn’t take a health expert to see that it’s probably not safe to be ingesting the equivalent of a plastic bag (or two) every day.
If it’s true, this is yet another example of the risks associated with an industrial food system that cares more about quantity than quality, and profit more than people.
Author’s Note: The original story, referenced by Very Vietnam and several other Asian news sites, was published by Weekly Hong Kong. I can’t read Chinese, so it’s hard to judge the credibility of the original report. If any readers are willing/able to translate/evaluate this page, and let me know whether you think it’s a hoax or not, I would be interested to learn more.
Image Credit: Flickr - International Rice Research Institute