Singapore: Seizure of 5,000 bags of artificial rice sparks food safety concerns

The concern of artificial rice has become a major nuisance among the Asian countries, especially in China.

Picture for representation
Workers unload bags of rice from a truck before loading them onto a boat at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta Reuters

Customs officers at Singapore's Pasir Panjang Terminal seized more than 5,000 bags of artificial rice, also known as counterfeit rice, from a shipment from India on Thursday. The customs officials also confirmed the news in a press release released on Friday which triggered concern among Singaporeans about what rice they were consuming till now.

It was reported that customs officers confiscated five 20-foot containers weighing about 129 tonnes upon their arrival at the terminal, after an owner of the Singapore-registered trademark alerted the officials that the product has infringed its trademark. The officers, after inspection, also confirmed that the packaging has similar trademark as the Singapore registered company.

Singapore Customs, according to the Channel News Asia, said that the trademark proprietor has confirmed the rice to be counterfeit and police has already ordered a probe into the matter.

The concern of artificial rice has become a major nuisance among the Asian countries, especially in China. Recently a video shared on Chinese social media messaging app WeChat, a worker is seen putting plastic bags into a machine which moulds them into thin white strips. To the shock of the viewers, after further processing, they make small granules of the plastic strips exactly resembling rice.

Though the authenticity of the video remains debatable and some viewers said that the workers are producing plastic granules for industrial use and producing fake rice is not economical, the video became viral and several people expressed their concern over food safety on several social media platforms including Weibo.

However, artificial rice is also produced from broken rice with adding cereals, micronutrients, including minerals such as iron and zinc and vitamin A and Vitamin B.