The General Agency of Specialized Inspection reported on an investigation for the quality of rice on Tuesday, following rumors about sales of “artificial” rice.

Deputy Head of the General Agency of Specialized Inspection S.Davaasuren reported that a rumor about rice made of synthetic resin being sold in Mongolia had been spreading on social media lately. He said that some people claimed that the rice was binding together when burned and showed videos of it.

Deputy Head of the General Agency of Specialized Inspection S.Davaasuren

“All food products are combustible. Some people are scaring the public by showing burning rice and claiming that it will cause illnesses and put their lives at risk when consumed. When we conducted examinations on rice imported in 2017, 12 samples failed to meet the basic 17 requirements. Nine rice samples failed sensory indicators, six had been infested with pests, and two had exceeded their shelf life. At the time, entities responsible were fined in accordance with the Law on Conflicts and the products were exterminated,” he said.

Mongolia imports all of its rice demand, which are tested before passing through the border, according to customs officials.

S.Davaasuren acknowledged that there were occasions when the quality of imported rice deteriorated during shipping, but said, “As of today (December 19), we haven’t received any complaints in line with the claims circulating on Facebook. We asked to inspect this ‘fake rice’ from the people who started the rumor to prevent potential health risks to the public, but no one responded.”

Senior state inspector of plant conservation, quarantine and quality Ts.Bulgan advised consumers to carefully read labels on rice products before purchasing to prevent side effects or other adversities. She also stated that the quality of rice can degrade when stored inappropriately.

“Keep rice in cool places,” she said.

Rumors about plastic, artificial rice first emerged in 2011 in China, and quickly spreading to Singapore, Malasia, Russia, Nigeria, and Mongolia. The General Agency of Specialized Inspection sampled rice sold at markets and shopping centers across Mongolia in 2014 in response to the rumors. At the time, inspectors didn’t find any artificial rice, only ones that had exceeded their shelf life or degraded due to improper storage.

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