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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has instructed its officials nationwide to increase inspection on the quality of rice in the wake of the discovery of fake rice allegedly made from resin in the northern province of Nan.
The move came after villagers in Phu Phiang district notified local authorities that they were lured to buy fake rice from unknown brokers for several thousand baht.
The fake rice was suspected to be imported from China as earlier fake eggs were also found.
The rice was packed in plastic bag with Chinese label on it. The villagers said the rice stayed hard after cooking and gave foul smell when they tried to burn it.
FDA secretary-general Prapon Angtrakul said that most imported rice come from Vietnam and Australia and they are used to produce corn flakes.
Authorities said Thailand imported rice worth 3,000 baht only from China in 2014 for research and it was the only lot of rice Thailand legally purchased from China.
Prapon said the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is conducting test on the fake rice.
But he personally doubted that the rice was really made of resin, pointing out that resin is actually more expensive than rice and consumption of such synthetic rice is dangerous.
He believed the rice was produced from substandard rice making process, which is a more worrying issue for him. Prapon advised the public to purchase rice from reliable sources.
Meanwhile, officials from the Internal Trade Department said it is coordinating with concerned agencies in seeking solutions to the fake rice problem.
The officials advised people who mistakenly buy fake rice to report the incident to the Office of the Consumer Protection Board.
They said selling fake rice are considered offending Article 271 of the Criminal Code and the Consumer Protection Act.