The Myth Behind 'Plastic Rice' And What You Need To Know

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Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of speculation surrounding 'plastic rice' being sold in Africa. These rumors aren't necessarily new, with the plastic rice phenomenon circling the Internet since 2010.

Here's a basic timeline of "Plastic (or Fake) Rice" and what people have been talking about.


Originating in China, social media posts spread with a rumor claiming rice companies are manufacturing a plastic product and mixing it in with the real thing, allowing them to fill the bags with less product and make money.


Reports emerged that rice was being produced with potatoes and a sticky resin to hold it all together. Chinese restaurant officials warned that eating 3 bowls of 'plastic rice' was basically the same as eating one plastic bag. Videos and images surfaced online as people began making fake stories about what is in this 'fake rice' and how it's being introduced to our everyday lives.

A video posted online tried to fuel the fake rice rumors by showing a ping-pong ball sized piece of plastic. BBC/YouTube


The viral rumors had reached Africa, more specifically Nigeria, by 2016 and people really ate it up. Nigerian customs claimed to have seized 2.5 tons of this 'plastic rice' smuggled into the country by businessmen. The rice was overly sticky and had a chemical smell, which is why Nigerian customs assumed it was plastic.

After being tested in the lab, Nigerian officials were forced to revoke their claims, as it turned out the rice was just that...regular rice. They did find high levels of bacteria in it, but it was most certainly not made of plastic.

Continue reading to see why people still believe 'fake rice' is a thing, and what the experts have to say.

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