Date
15 October 2018
Hong Kong authorities tested some rice samples after a woman complained that she may have been served fake rice at a local restaurant. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong authorities tested some rice samples after a woman complained that she may have been served fake rice at a local restaurant. Photo: HKEJ

Tests disprove ‘fake rice’ claims, says govt

The government has rejected claims that fake rice is being served at some restaurants in the city, describing the fears as unfounded. 

The Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) said it examined five samples collected from a restaurant chain that was accused of serving the so-called fake rice.

Tests on the samples, collected from Mong Kok and Sheung Shui branches of the Tao Heung restaurant chain, showed the allegations were not true, the department said.

The inspections came after a video clip began circulating online in the past week of purported fake rice served at a Mong Kok outlet of Tao Heung, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

On Jan. 9, a woman posted a video on Facebook, saying that she may have been served “fake rice” when she went to dine at a Tao Heung restaurant.

In the video, the woman shows an image of fried rice and claims that the texture of the rice was unusual.

According to the lady, when she tried to squeeze and rub the grain, it only got elongated without breaking.

Following the “discovery”, she suspected that the restaurant was using fake rice, and called on the FEHD to collect samples for an examination.

As the video clip went viral, some chain restaurants began using normal white rice in place of the original pearl millet rice for their fried rice dishes, HK01.com reports.

The Tao Heung restaurant chain said it responded swiftly to the complaints and had immediately reached out to their distributor to confirm the rice quality supervision and quality checks.

The FEHD tested the rice samples to determine if any plasticizers were used, as well as chemicals such as Aflatoxins and other impurities.

Authorities announced Tuesday that all samples have passed the tests.

A Tao Heung restaurant spokesperson said they have hired private laboratories to conduct similar tests. The restaurant hopes it will allay any concerns that the public might still have about the rice.

A government spokesperson, meanwhile, pointed out that rice can change its properties during the process of cooking, and that different species and types of rice can vary in hardness and whiteness as well as brightness.

Longer grain types will usually be harder, while shorter ones will result in a softer and moister texture.

Authorities urged citizens to first understand the properties of the rice they are having before believing in any rumors on “fake rice”.

They also stressed that not everything that is found on the internet is true, and that people need to filter information carefully.

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