Commerce Ministry rejects claims on plastic rice

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has rejected claims in a Youtube video showing cooked white coloured basmati rice as “Plastic Rice from Lanka Sathosa” which had gone viral since June 3.

The video claims that some basmati rice purchased from the Pitakotte outlet of Lanka Sathosa not becoming stale (like other Basmati rice varieties) even after 24 hours of cooking it, and when a ball of such cooked rice is dropped on the floor, the (ball of) rice does not disintegrate nor rice grains fall away as expected but stays glued, thereby creating speculation that this rice is possibly mixed with plastic particles and is harmful.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Lanka Sathosa says the claim is a false message spread to tarnish the image and brand name of Lanka Sathosa.

The Basmati rice focused in this viral video is a variety of Basmati imported to Sri Lanka from Pakistan on 15 May, 2017 for Lanka Sathosa.

The total imported consignment was 20 Metric tonnes. The label this rice is sold is “Imported Basmati Rice”.

“This rice is still in very good condition even now, and is fit for consumption. It has the same well known Basmati size, smell and flavour when cooked-with one minute difference which led to false “Plastic Rice” claims. This minute difference has been identified by SATHOSA’s official Food Technology Analyst and Consultant today 4 June when a sample of rice from Pitakotte Lanka Sathosa was subjected to a lab test.According to the Analyst Mr Anurashantha, the test showed this rice to be in perfect condition and edible though slightly glutinous in comparison to other Basmati’s. The rice was found to be similar in all aspects to Basmatis except for the slightly glutinous nature. No plastic particles were detected either. It is this slightly glutinous nature that keeps the rice grains stuck together when the rice ball was dropped in the viral video,” the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.

The Ministry and Lanka Sathosa said that there is no truth of plastic particles in this or any rice varieties sold by Lanka Sathosa, adding that such viral videos and news items are aimed at tarnishing the good image and brand of Lanka Sathosa.

Since no defects are seen, it has been decided that Lanka Sathosa will continue to sell this “Imported Basmati Rice” as usual. (Colombo Gazette)