Nigeria releases test results on suspected plastic rice


Recent reports of plastic rice in Nigeria were untrue as the suspicious shipment merely contained a significant amount of contaminants, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has said.

The acting Director-General of the agency, Yetunde Oni, at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, said though the rice was found not to be plastic, contrary to media reports, it was still “unwholesome for human consumption”.

There was anxiety in country earlier this month when a report stated that the Nigerian Custom Services had intercepted tonnes of plastic rice allegedly imported by unscrupulous businessmen for distribution during the Christmas festive period.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, however debunked the report after some preliminary studies revealed otherwise.

He said there was no truth in the report and assured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm.

However, the laboratory result which was made public Thursday confirmed the earlier declaration by the minister.

Mrs. Oni however said that the rice failed other integrity test which thus ruled it out for human consumption.

“Based on the above laboratory result, the product is not plastic but rice contaminated with micro organisms above permissible limit.

“Hence the seized rice consignment is unsatisfactory and therefore unwholesome for human consumption”, Mrs. Oni stated.

She said the consignment would be destroyed once handed over by the Nigeria Customs Service.

Comptroller-General of Custom, Hameed Ali, said irrespective of the outcome of the findings, the service would continue to do its work in ensuring that fake and banned goods are not allowed into the country.

He revealed that over 40,000 bags of rice had been seized in recent time, part of which were sent to the internally displaced persons’ camps (IDPs).

Mr. Ali, who was represented at the briefing by his deputy, Umar Ilya, stated that as part of the move to curb illegal importation, the service would not only seize the goods but also confiscate the means of transporting them.

“We are still guided by the intelligence we have which indicates that several metric tones of expired and dangerous rice are still lying in wait at warehouses in neighboring countries.

“The target of these products is Nigerian markets. We will therefore intensify our patrols to ensure that economic saboteurs do not succeed.

Mr. Ali however urged warehouse owners across the country not to accept such smuggled products in their facilities.


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  • Rommel

    Admitted that it is not plastic but bacteria rice which is even more dangerous

  • Nkem

    If the rumour about plastic rice did not happen, I bet you this batch of rice would since have gone into the market and most of it would have since been consumed by hapless Nigerians. Now they are all grandstanding as if they have been doing their job.

  • Kamalu

    “He revealed that over 40,000 bags of the rice has been seized in recent times, part of which were sent to Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps (IDPs )”. Why feed IDPs with unwholesome food? Who authorized it? Or has NAFDAC simply faked the laboratory analysis to further justify the seizures by Customs?

    • The Optimist

      The IDPs escaped the bullets and now they face biochemical terrorism!

  • paul irumundomon

    The custom officer, who disclosed and stated categorically that it look like rice and smell like rice, on video lied to the public. They have paid you fools to change the story, that custom officer is not ten years old, was very bold and intelligent when he was explaining how they got a tip off, and ordinarily he would have pass that rice to be genuine.

    • Mufu Ola

      So you prefer the custom man than the laboratory test? Good sense indeed!

      • paul irumundomon

        I don’t know whether to believe this goveernment, they have changed too far to the right, everything they say, is now questionable. Maybe the custom officer, hate the importer of that rice.

        • The Optimist

          Most likely a result of a failed ‘settlement’ negotiation.

      • paul irumundomon


  • Otile

    Even Odua people are beginning to distrust this lying government.

  • thusspokez

    The acting Director-General of the agency, Yetunde Oni, at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, said though the rice was found not to be plastic, contrary to media reports, it was still “unwholesome for human consumption”.

    Why is this acting Director-General blaming the media when it was the Customs Area Controller of F.O.U. Comptroller Mohammed Haruna who had made the claim to the media. See quote below:

    “We have done the preliminary analysis on the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it.”

    “I advise those economic saboteurs who see Yuletide season as a peak period for nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business.”

    — The Customs Area Controller of F.O.U. Comptroller Mohammed Haruna
    — punchng. December 21, 2016

    • paul irumundomon

      I know nigeria customs, I know the police and now the politicians, China can buy the three with one check, what are we talking about.

      • thusspokez

        Social media rumours of plastic rice first began in early 2011, claiming that plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported and consumed by people in other countries unaware that the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. But to date, the rumour remains unproven. So why do some Nigerians still continue to believe this rumour? I should attribute it to IGNORANCE!

        • paul irumundomon

          Ignorance of the lab officials that carried out the test or ignorance of social media. The result said is a chemical rice, and not plastic rice, that definitely would be ignorance too. What else is not ignorant, buying the lab officials to lie about their report.

  • The Optimist

    And the whole thing was beamed to the whole world, even on BBC, with a customs officer in high spirits of an achievement. Fakes! Now, who destroys whose image but we our own selves. Why do we place the horse before the cart? This test should have been quietly done before the rice was pronounced to be ‘plastic’.

  • ojays

    the rice was wet and developed moulds making it blackish and sticky. the fungus made it black. that’s what I suspect.