The Food and Drugs Authority has denied claims that plastic rice is being imported into the market.
This comes on the back of reports, particularly, on social media of packaged rice suspected to have been produced from plastic materials and being sold on the Ghanaian market.
But the FDA said samples it received from Ghanaians showed that they were actually authentic and not plastic after laboratory investigations.
It said its international partner, the International Food Safety Authority Network (INFOSAN) who had also investigated the same issue said: “Rumoured artificial, plastic, fake rice appearing in Singapore, Nigeria and Canada turned out to be real, authentic rice.”
The head of Food Safety Management at the FDA, Maria Lovelace-Johnson addressing the press
Explaining how to identify real rice from plastic rice, the head of Food Safety Management at the FDA, Maria Lovelace-Johnson, “there was no way plastic will not melt at boiling temperature” during cooking, adding that “plastic cannot be moulded at room temperature”, confirming that there is no plastic rice on the Ghanaian market.
An official from FDA explaining how to identify real rice from plastic rice
The FDA added that real rice will cook at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius whilst the alleged plastic rice will remain as solid granules when cooked at 100 degrees Celsius since plastics require a much higher temperature to melt.
A description on how to identify real rice from plastic rice
So why does cooked moulded rice bounce when hit on hard surfaces?
The FDA explained that the textural properties of rice are due to the nature of their starch content which is influenced by their amylose and amylopectin ratio. Amylopectin is responsible for the sticky nature of rice while amylose is responsible for its gelatinous and tough nature. A combination of these characteristics is responsible for the bouncing.
The FDA further used the opportunity to call on Ghanaians to be alert and report any food items that feel suspicious about.