Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adulterated Rice

Image from original article at Weekly Hong Kong

West Coast Woman mentioned seeing an article that reports on China producing adulterated rice for sale. With a little help from Google, I found the story in a number of places; Raw Story and the Globe Tribune are two. They, and most of the other sites, are referencing a story that appeared on Very Vietnam--which itself references an article that first appeared on Weekly Hong Kong. I don't read Korean, so the original article on WHK is inaccessible to me, forcing me to rely on translations for my information.
That being said, it looks like

The "rice" is made by mixing potatoes, sweet potatoes and plastic. The potatoes are first formed into the shape of rice grains. Industrial synthetic resins are then added to the mix. The rice reportedly stays hard even after being cooked.
The Korean-language Weekly Hong Kong reported that the fake rice is being sold in the Chinese town of Taiyuan, in Shaanxi province.
 The report quotes an un-named Chinese Restaurant Association official as saying that eating three bowls of the adulterated rice would be the equivalent of ingesting a plastic bag.
This is the logical outgrowth of an industrial food system that treats food as nothing more than a commodity and severs the relationship between producers and consumers. The goal is to keep the costs of production down and profit margins up.
The "wild west" capitalism of China has lead to other problems with food adulteration before--like Chinese milk and infant formula being contaminated with melamine in order to pass protein level tests.

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