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Beware of plastic rice! How to identify plastic rice? Read to find out

Are you serving your family plastic rice?

If you are one of those plastic-phobic people who insist on BPA-free products, you should read this! After plastic cabbage and plastic eggs, the newest controversy that is giving all of us sleepless nights is plastic rice. If rumours are to be believed, some grocery stores in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been selling rice supposedly made of plastic. Understandably, this has caused a lot of panic among people who are taking a good second look at the rice they bought from trusted provision store. Rocked by complaints from irate consumers, the Telangana State Civil Supplies Division has taken matters into their own hands by collecting samples from the rice suppliers in the state.Last year, there was a big furore over the same topic when a plastic rice scam was unearthed in China and Vietnam. Numerous plastic rice videos on YouTube also explain how the grains are made.

Health risks of eating plastic rice

The news about children crafting a cricket ball out of the semi-boiled plastic rice is sure to invite a few chuckles, but mind you, eating plastic is no laughing matter. Plastic consumption is also linked to the incidences of various problems such as cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity and reproductive effects etc.

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Nutritionist Upasana Shukla says, " One of the biggest risks of ingesting plastic is the hormonal imbalance it creates giving rise to a host of diseases. It also stops the body from absorbing nutrients present in the food thus giving rise to deficiencies."

But how can one not recognise real rice from the fake ones? That's because the toxic grains are made of sweet potatoes, potatoes and synthetic resin which resembles the real rice in look and texture. What's more? It's even sprayed with a chemical that smells a lot like rice. This explains why so many customers may have fallen prey to the scam.

How to identify plastic rice

Cook it: Upasana says, " You cannot identify plastic rice when it's raw. When you cook it, a thick layer will form on the top and sides of the vessel. Also, the rice might remain hard in some places."

Look for unpleasant smell: You could also keep some amount of the damp rice in a vessel outside for a few days. If it is organic, mould could grow on it, or the mixture may turn rancid. If it stays fresh, the rice is fake!

Check whether the grains float: Try putting a handful of grains into water. If it floats to the top, the rice is made of plastic.

Heat it: You can also try heating the grains. If it is fake it may give out the indistinguishable smell of burning plastic.

Image source: Shutterstock

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