Busting the Plastic Rice Myth

There have been many videos around bouncing rice balls and tests to check if your rice is plastic. Many government officials are probing into this but have not found any conclusive proof to prove that the rice is plastic. The Plastic rice mania has certainly hit social media in a big way, and now anyone with a camera is trying to get their two minutes of fame by coming up with more silly ways to say “Hey! Look. This rice is Plastic”.

All this is done to create doubt and confusion in people’s minds, unnecessarily. Adulteration of food is a scary issue and not something which can be taken lightly. This is exactly why busting the myth is very important.

Rice is India’s staple food and is consumed by more than half the country’s population. Sometimes the rice is consumed even three times a day in different forms. To have doubts about our staple food can be overwhelming.

The whole story is a myth that has been blown out of proportion with the social media frenzy. The truth is that as far as India is concerned, ‘plastic rice’ has never been seized so far, though time and again there have been reports of demonstrations against such rice. A report from fact verification website snopes.com says, “The plastic rice story [and its fellow counterfeit Chinese food export legends] resemble an internationally viral 2007 CCTV segment about pork buns purportedly made with scrap cardboard, for which an independent journalist was eventually detained and accused of faking the oft-referenced story.”

Experts in the field of agriculture have taken initiative and explained in detail why the whole idea is absurd. Watch below as Padmasree Dr. V.P. Singh (Retd. Head, Division of Genetics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute) talks logically about the characteristics of rice.

Cooked rice contains 80% starch. The high carbohydrate content in this rice may be the reason for the adhesiveness and elasticity. We strongly feel, just because a ball of sticky rice bounces, it is not plastic. Such bounce of a ball of cooked basmati rice is nothing but a natural phenomenon.

Benefits of Basmati

One of India’s favourite, most loved varieties of rice, the spectacular Basmati has also fallen under the radar. Take a look at some of the amazing qualities of our beloved basmati and you should eat more of it instead of worrying about false claims.

Basmati is the long grained aromatic rice grown in the Himalayan foothills in the north-western parts of India. India produces over 70% of the world’s Basmati and is the leading exporter of the grain worldwide.

The word “basmati” in Hindi means fragrance, and the fragrance can evoke very special memories in all of us. Basmati is not just a crop; it is a symbol of heritage, festivities, togetherness and great flavour.

  • Basmati Rice contains high nutritional value as it contains a large amount of vitamin B.
  • It contains a minimal amount of fat and considerable amounts of useful carbohydrates.
  • According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, Basmati rice has a ‘medium’ glycemic index (between 56 and 69) opposed to regular white rice with a glycemic index of 89, thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour.
  • Basmati Rice comes in Brown, and white varieties. The basmati brown rice is rich in fibre. Its proved that in 200 g brown basmati rice there’s 7.8g fibre. High fibre content in rice helps in easy digestion.
  • It contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is very low in sodium and has no cholesterol.

Basmati rice has all the characteristics of extra- long slender grains that elongate at least twice of their original size with a soft and fluffy texture upon cooking. It’s delicious taste, aroma and distinct flavour, makes it unique among other aromatic long grain rice varieties.

Basmati is truly nature’s gift to us. Over the years, this rice has been a part of every household’s consumption. We must not let claims like this take over just because some people find it weirdly amusing to create panic. Basmati rice is India’s finest and it will always be.