- Rumours went viral on social media that plastic rice was being sold on a large-scale at various stores in Andhra Pradesh
- The department of weights and measures is planning to keep a tab on this novel method of rice adulteration
HYDERABAD / VISAKHAPATNAM: Rumours of alleged sale of plastic rice at some grocery stores caused jitters among the people+ of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.
Two days after a customer found plastic rice being used in a biryani point in Saroornagar in Hyderabad, another customer, this time from Meerpet, approached the local police on Tuesday claiming that the rice which he bought from a grocery store turned out to be a plastic one. By the evening, task force officials of the civil supplies department raided the shop in Meerpet and seized samples which are now being examined. Meanwhile, rumours went viral on social media that plastic rice+was being sold on a large-scale at various stores in Andhra Pradesh triggering panic among the public.
Meerpet police said Ashok, a resident of Nandanavanam colony, complained that for the last several days, he and his family members have been suffering from various health problems like stomach ache, pain in hands and legs. It was on Monday night that when Ashok returned home from work in the night, he found that the rice served to him by his wife was mashed and unedible.
Rumours of plastic rice and the continuous flow of posts, videos and messages on social networking sites, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp, created panic on Tuesday in Andhra Pradesh too.
Even as the reports are yet to be verified, officials in the state are taking no chances. The department of weights and measures (W&M) is planning to keep a tab on this novel method of rice adulteration by forming a special enforcement team.
“We also came to know about plastic or fake rice through media and social networking sites. We have not received any instructions from our higher-ups so far on this issue, but locally I am sending four food inspectors to check rice with the main rice traders in Visakhapatnam,” Srinivasa Rao, W&M assistant food controller, told TOI. Until then, he said, they had come across only cases of adulteration of red gram and other commodities.
If any citizen lodges a complaint with the department, they would take it seriously, examine the facts and take action under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, Rao added. Rice traders, however, rule out the possibility of plastic rice in the port city. “There is no sale of such plastic rice in the city. By God’s grace, Andhra Pradesh does not have any rice shortage to leave space for fake or plastic rice,” said K Bhima Rao, a rice trader.