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A shocking report from the World Health Authority has shown that up to 80% of white rice being served in Thai restaurants is a fake. According to reports Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice which has flooded Thai rice markets. Investigations are being made into the factories alleged to be producing this cheap alternative to Thailand’s staple diet.
Investigations by the Vietnamese have established that the fake rice, also flooding their markets, is being made by mixing sweet potatoes with plastic. The potatoes are first formed into the shape of rice grains before being coated with industrial synthetic resins. The resins can be very harmful when eaten, the World Restaurant Association yesterday said that eating three bowls of fake rice is the equivalent to eating one and a half plastic bags.
The obvious motivation behind the fake rice scheme is money! Synthetic rice is cheaper to produce giving it a preferable price in Thailand’s food distribution market. Thailand is a major producer of rice, however, rice producers are gaining larger profits by exporting genuine rice and restaurants and rice distribution companies are saving a fortune by importing cheap imitation rice from China. Reports of fake rice flooding into Taiwan and Korea as well as Thailand have prompted large scale investigations throughout Asia.
“As you would expect, consuming plastic rice is extremely harmful and toxic to your health and it is causing quite an uproar” said a representative of the World Health Authority and advised anybody eating rice in a restaurant to beware of hard rice. “Fake rice stays hard even after it has been boiled or steamed” he went on to say “so don’t assume you are simply eating undercooked rice if the grains are not soft, it could be fake, and it could be plastic”
As well as fake rice China is also reported to be exporting wax lettuce and crab sticks made from plasticine. A team from trading standards have found plastic rice in 78 out of 100 bowls of rice tested on the popular island of Koh Samui. Their advice “if you think rice tastes undercooked in a restaurant, put it on a metal spoon, put a cigarette lighter or a candle flame under spoon, if the rice melts its fake”.
It is thought that between June 2017 and February 2018 over 300,000 people have become ill after eating fake rice in Thailand’s restaurants.