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'Plastic Rice' Rumour Causes Panic in Goa, Govt Provides Clarity on Fortified Rice

The Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs issued a clarification about fortified rice.

Shivangi Rai
The department emphasizes that fortified rice can be stored, cooked, and consumed just like regular rice.  (Image Courtesy- Freepik)
The department emphasizes that fortified rice can be stored, cooked, and consumed just like regular rice. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)

Rumours have been spreading on social media, causing panic among the people in Goa, suggesting that Fair Price Shops (FPS) are supplying plastic rice. However, the Goa government has clarified that this information is incorrect and that only fortified rice is provided to consumers.

The Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has issued a statement to clarify the situation.

According to the department, there have been false information and misleading videos circulating on social media and in local newspapers, claiming that "plastic rice" is being sold through FPS.

The government has repeatedly addressed this issue, emphasizing that fortified rice kernels are produced by mixing rice powder with essential micronutrients like vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.

These micronutrients are added to the rice in the right proportions and then shaped into rice-like grains. They are mixed with the regular rice supply at the miller in a 1:100 ratio.

The resulting rice, fortified with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12, offers health benefits. Cooked fortified rice retains its normal taste, texture, and cooking properties, and it contains 80% starch and a high carbohydrate content, which contributes to its stickiness and elasticity. However, these characteristics do not imply that the rice is plastic.

The department emphasizes that fortified rice can be stored, cooked, and consumed just like regular rice. They encourage people to include fortified rice in their diets to enjoy additional nutritional advantages and recommend that millers produce fortified rice due to its numerous benefits.

During the initial spread of rumours, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant dispelled concerns by stating that it would be more expensive to produce plastic rice than real rice. This assertion was made to debunk the misinformation circulating about plastic rice being supplied.

In the past, there have been incidents of the Civil Supply Department distributing rice infested with maggots, mites, and fungus to ration card holders in Goa. This led to rumours that plastic rice was also being supplied to some fair price shops.

However, after conducting checks in the warehouses, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that the allegations of plastic rice being supplied were unfounded.

According to Chief Minister Sawant, the rice has been thoroughly examined and is not made of plastic. He emphasized that it would be cost-prohibitive to produce plastic rice, making the rumours baseless. The government has stressed the importance of responsible communication, stating that spreading false information can create confusion and unnecessary panic.

Sawant clarified that what was referred to as plastic rice is, in fact, fortified rice, which is approved by the Food Corporation of India and supplied through the public distribution system. Opposition parties in Goa have criticized the BJP government, alleging that it has failed to provide quality rice to the people.

An owner of a Fair Price Shop confirmed that the rice supplied is not plastic but fortified rice. He expressed confusion over the source of the rumours that caused panic and highlighted the clarification provided by the FDA, confirming that the rice is safe for consumption.

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