DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH MALAYSIA
ALLEGATION OF FAKE RICE IN THE MARKET
Ministry of Health (MOH) refers to the article “Throwing deadly plastic into our rice bowls” by the STAR dated 18 May 2015. MOH is aware of the allegation circulating in the social media that “fake rice” is being produced in China by mixing potatoes/sweet potatoes with plastic resins and this rice has been exported to a number of Asian countries. The information on these media also indicated that such rice can be distinguished as it will remain hard even after cooking and a layer of “plastic like” sheath can be formed as the rice is boiled.
MOH would like to reiterate that plastic resins are normally used as food packaging materials and were never intended to be added into food to be consumed for whatever reasons. As such, this allegation if proven true, is an irresponsible act that can compromise the health of consumers.
According to Padiberas Nasional Berhad (BERNAS), the majority of rice imports come from Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan. In 2014, only 10 metric tonnes of rice was imported from China, whilst in 2015 (as at 30 April), only 22 metric tonnes was imported. These imports were made based on the demand (upon request from wholesalers), which consists mainly of the round grain japonica rice variety for the use of Japanese and Korean restaurants.These amounts of imported rice from China are small and negligible (less than 0.01%) in comparison to the total import amount of about 800,000 metric tonnes.
Nevertheless, MOH will continue to be vigilant in monitoring this issue and will duly update the public if there are any new findings that are of food safety concern. MOH would also like to advise consumers that have concerns and are suspicious of the rice authenticity to notify the MOH through either the nearest State Health Department, District Health Office, Food Safety and Quality (FSQ) Division website http://fsq.moh.gov.my or FSQ’s facebook at www.facebook.com/bkkmhq.
DATUK DR. NOOR HISHAM BIN ABDULLAH
Director General of Health Malaysia
Ministry of Health Malaysia
21 May 2015