Plastic Rice In Nigerian Markets: How To Identify Them

There have been reports of people buying Plastic Rice in Nigerian markets. Is this true? Why would anyone want to sell plastic rice? What is the Nigerian government doing about it? These are some questions begging for answers and we want to attempt to answer some of them with the little information available.

What Is A Plastic Rice? Does It Even Exist?

Plastic rice has been described as rice made from plastic. It has sometimes been reported in the media to be manufactured in China and sold in the West and countries in Africa.

Plastic Rice In Nigeria

Please don’t confuse this with what is known as Artificial Rice. This in contrast artificial rice is a grain product made to resemble rice. It is usually made from broken rice, sometimes with the addition of other cereals.

Why Plastic Rice In Nigeria?

I first stumbled on this when I saw a photo shared on Instagram showing something that looked like tapioca in a spoon. The posted claimed this was the plastic rice bought in a market. Before I go on, let me share what a plastic rice is, with you.

I have not seen the plastic rice myself, I have only seen reports of it and many of them. The reason I am asking “why plastic rice” is because I think that plastic rice grains would easily be detected after cooking. Moreover, they would be likely more expensive to produce than real rice.

What Are Authorities Doing About It?

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have launched a search for alleged fake/plastic rice from China which is said to have found its way into some African countries, including Nigeria.

How Do You Identify Fake or Plastic Rice?

There are a number of ways by which you can know if you are being sold plastic rice;

1. Number one is a no-brainier but we still have to mention it again – buy popular and know brands of rice in their sacs. This way, you be sure to a high level that you are buying real rice grains. However, if you are buying smaller measures of rice from already opened bags, it becomes trickier.

2. Try setting a little bit of your rice on fire with a match or lighter. If it starts burning right away and smells like burning plastic, then you likely have plastic rice with you.

plastic rice will melt when cooked

3. When you crush a few grains of rice with a mortar and pestle (the small kitchen size) they should be reduced to a fine, white, starchy powder. However, when you do the same with fake rice, you will see a light yellow discoloration.

4. Plastic rice will not get spoiled after days of cooking it. This should be a last test because it takes time to complete and some people may have eaten part of it.

Depending on the plastics used to “make” this rice, the rice may even melt when cooked. So you can easily know when that happens. Whether the claims of sales of plastic rice in Nigeria are true or not, you can use the tests above to identify plastic rice. If you also have any proof of the plastic rice (pictures or videos), please share with us.


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Ahmed Ogundimu
Ahmed is a Food Scientist/Technologist first of all. A Seasoned Blogger, Astute Marketer, Food Enthusiast and Manchester United Lover. I read anything and everything available so I know so many useful and useless things.


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