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Monday, January 2, 2017

rice the staple food too is contaminated ~ Chinese plastic rice in Nigeria

Many live to eat and all of us love our food ~ none better than a full meal served traditionally on banana leaves, starting with banana, sweet, rice, many many varieties, ending with curd rice.   It is our tradition to place a full /top leaf for guests [thalai vazhai].  I have on earlier occasions posted on “rice” – Green revolution and more. 

Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn, according to data for 2010.

Agriculture has been mankind’s primary activity for centuries. Thiruvalluvar hails ‘Uzhavu – Agriculture’ by saying that  though laborious, it is the most excellent form of labour; though people would go around in search of various employments ~ all will have to resort to the farmer at last ! 

சுழன்றும் ஏர்ப்பின்னது உலகம் அதனால்;
உழந்தும் உழவே தலை **

Rice is grown in more than a hundred countries; with about 90% of global production occurring in Asia.  The others prime producers are Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.   There are some special varieties like the famous ‘Basmati rice’, a type of aromatic rice, grown mostly in India and Pakistan. It is renowned for its long, slender shape that elongates rather than expands in width when it is cooked. The word basmati means "queen of fragrance," and the rice is distinguished by its aroma and taste. 

Now read this shocking news in MailOnline !  Authorities in Nigeria have seized more than 100 bags of plastic rice - saying it would have been dangerous to anyone who tried to eat the contents.

Prices of the staple food have rocketed ahead of Christmas and the New Year, and investigators believed the haul was shipped from China. A suspect has been arrested after 102 bags were seized in Lagos. The cost of rice has swelled to a staggering £51 for a 50kg bag in Nigeria - more than double what it cost last year.

Customs controller Mohammed Haruna said: 'We have done a preliminary analysis of the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it.'  A senior customs official told AFP that the bags are thought to have been smuggled in from China through Lagos port. The 50-kilo bags, branded 'Best Tomato Rice', had no date of manufacture and were intercepted Monday in the Ikeja area of the sprawling city, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Nigeria has banned rice imports as it seeks to boost local production. Haruna said the plastic rice was to be sold ahead of Christmas and New Year festivities, with the price hitting the roof because of huge inflation.  Nigeria's inflation stood at 18.5 percent in November, its 13th consecutive monthly rise, driven by higher food prices. The customs service has sent the fake rice to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control for further analysis.

Exploitation of poor and gullible keeps happening and it involves trade across the borders too !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd Dec 2016.

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