By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
Nigerians have been advised to “avoid eating anything that would endanger their lives, despite the excruciating hardship they are passing through now”.
The National President of Polymer Institute of Nigeria, PIN, Professor Paul Hamza, who made the special appeal while responding to Vanguard inquiry on the alleged importation of plastic rice into the country, also warned that the product is detrimental to human health.
“Plastic rice is detrimental to human health when consumed, because of the chemicals used in its production. Those producing or importing it into the country are enemies of mankind”, Professor Hamza said.
While affirming that he has heard about the importation of the killer rice into Nigeria, the university don also warned that consumption of plastic rice could cause cancer.
Answering a question, Hamza gave the name of the injurious rice as “Beat Tomatoes Rice”, stressing that the product has no NAFDAC number.
“The plastic rice is produced from potato powder and plastic materials, basically by blending and extruding this material through an extruder and pelletized in rice grain sizes”, Hamza said.
It was his considered opinion that the easiest way to identify the killer grain is by dropping some quantity in a bowl of water and stir.
“If it settles down, it means that it is the edible rice grain, but if it floats on top of the water, it means you have bought plastic rice. Again, if you heat the grains in a pan, they melt and stick to the pan”, Hamza said.
The university don called on members of the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the Bill for the establishment of the Chartered Polymer Institute of Nigeria.
“If this is done, we will then be empowered to join the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and other regulatory agencies of government to curb the production and importation of such goods into Nigeria”, Hamza said.