Nigerian fake rice update

by on December 25, 2016 at 12:06 am in Food and Drink, Law | Permalink

Artificial food products such as fake rice recently confiscated by Nigerian customs officials are intended for restaurant displays and not to be eaten, according to manufacturers.

The fake rice was made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, “and should be labelled “artificial”, they said.

Nigerian customs recently confiscated 2.5 tonnes of fake rice but officials couldn’t discern what it was made of, according to a BBC report on Wednesday.

…Zhou Tao, a sales manager with an artificial food manufacturer in Yiwu, Zhejiang, said it was only intended for use in restaurant or store displays.

The artificial food products are popular with restaurants to display menu choices as they always look fresh and never rot. Artificial rice is made of PVC, a white, brittle plastic.

…He said he was puzzled why anyone would smuggle artificial rice to sell as real in Africa, as the product his company sold cost more than 70 yuan for 1kg, or 10 times the price of real rice in China. In Africa the cost would increase due to shipping and other costs.

Xiong Heping, the manager of another manufacturer in Shenzhen, said the rice was labelled “artificial”, when shipping to buyers in China or overseas.

Here is the full story, via George Chen.

1 SomeGuy December 25, 2016 at 1:43 am

More questions than answers now…

2.5 tonnes can fill a lot of store displays. Why would the company have agreed to that transaction?

2 mulp December 25, 2016 at 11:43 am

Sold in 1kg bags to 2500 restaurants in Asia, that hardly seems like a large number of store windows.

Even in Africa where Chinese managers and workers are living overseeing investments, that isn’t that many.

I can imagine someone labeling expensive fake rice as real rice to escape a high tariff.

3 edwardseco December 25, 2016 at 2:09 am

One reason the first account sounded plausible is that small rice shaped stones were used to increase the weight of rice in India. The custom of sorting through rice grains to remove stones is well established and saves on dental work. While I was courting I also did such to impress my swain. If anything is more boring than shucking peas out of the pods it is this tedious task. In the small town that I lived in there was such a “factory” where women used small hammers to generate such adulteration. I have seen Indian news accounts of plastic imitations being used although I have never found such.

4 Harun December 25, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Stones can also enter the rice by accident.

5 Nonso O December 25, 2016 at 2:20 am

FYI the seized “fake” rice might turn to really be rice according to officials at the National agency for food and drug administration and control. It’s kind of funny that the entire fake rice story was based on the word of customs officials who cooked it and found it sticky.

6 Harun December 25, 2016 at 2:14 pm

It’s probably sticky rice which is used for special purposes in Asia

7 zbicyclist December 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Could be. My daughter got into the habit of eating sticky rice in Chaing Mai, Thailand, while studying there, but would have to hunt to find some in the rest of Thailand and Cambodia — you could find it, but it often required a search. And it’s not so easy to find in Chicago. So perhaps the customs officials weren’t aware there was such a thing.

What would be the consistency of cooked PVC? Can’t imagine it would be remotely like rice.

8 Careless December 26, 2016 at 9:04 am

You couldn’t get a change in state in PVC with boiling/steaming it, so it would just be PVC.

9 Thomas December 25, 2016 at 2:24 am

We need national open immigration and trade from Nigeria, and local zoning laws by where the rich liberals live to keep away the fake rice and honor killings. Barkeley RosDurr hopes poor whites get murdered.

10 Thomas December 25, 2016 at 2:25 am

White Privilege is being an incredibly huge loser but getting a tenured professorship by virtue of your father’s coattails.

11 Thomas December 25, 2016 at 2:26 am

“well his math is about as good as an undergrad senior but maybe he will do better given his father’s career and also maybe the name recognition could help our school”

12 Jan December 25, 2016 at 6:51 am

Merry Christmas, Thomas.

13 Jacob Aaron Geller December 25, 2016 at 3:28 am

Model This…

14 ant1900 December 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

There’s an urban legend in China (or about China) regarding fake eggs. People buy into it because I guess they want to believe there are shady foreign merchants willing to stoop so low.

But of course it’s implausible and ridiculous when you give it a minute of thought. Eggs are incredibly cheap. Why would anyone go to all the trouble to manufacture a fake?

Apparently the same is true of this rice.

15 Mark Thorson December 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I’ve seen a couple of fake goods at the local Asian supermarket. A couple years ago, they had canned meat alleged to be scallops with a picture of a scallop on the label. I recognized right away it was the hood of a large species of squid cut into pieces. That product disappeared after a few months — Chinese are smart enough not to be taken in by that scam. I believe it was sourced from Peru or Ecuador.

Another fake good which is on-going is what appear to be very young red onions sold as shallots. I know perfectly well what a shallot is, and these are definitely not shallots. On a couple of occasions, I have seen the bags in which the putative shallots are shipped from mainland China, and they are labelled as shallots. This is not an acceptable substitute, and I find it hard to imagine how someone is profitting from selling baby red onions as shallots. Wouldn’t it cost about the same amount to raise either one?

16 Agammamon December 25, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Sure, and they probably sold for about the same thing. But someone wanted shallots and not baby red onions – so calling them shallots made a sale where calling them red onions wouldn’t have.

Sometimes counterfeiting isn’t about substituting an inferior (or fake) good to create extra profit, sometimes its just about selling whatever inventory you have on had.

17 Mark Thorson December 26, 2016 at 12:57 am

This has been going on for at least two years, so if it were a simple market-demand problem it should have been solved in that time. It’s either that there’s a real difference in cost between growing shallots and baby red onions, or the producers truly do not know the difference between the two.

18 Feyi December 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

This is definitely not what was seized in Nigeria. That came in 50kg bags and has been tested and found to be real.

Look, this is Nigeria. Someone wanted to take out a competing rice brand from the market in the run up to Christmas. That has been achieved. Check back in January and not a word of this story will be found anywhere

This is how the state is routinely used as an instrument to oppress people and make it incredibly difficult to do business

19 Sirajum Munira December 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

This news is really alarming! How and why should they produce this kind of food materials. I have found fake eggs in Bangladesh but fake rice is new to me. We should be more careful about these products. If these are for display only why they are importing it from china and selling it in local markets. it can be a disaster for health,
What’s the reason behind making fake things when we can work hard for something good or real.

20 edwardseco December 26, 2016 at 8:44 pm

Well, fakes last a lot longer on display and often look much better than the real thing so restaurants have some purpose for using it for display. Japanese food displays are remarkable. Just point, eat and pay..

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