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Agriculture Ministry quashes ‘plastic rice’ rumours

An employee checks processed rice at a facility on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last year.
An employee checks processed rice at a facility on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

Agriculture Ministry quashes ‘plastic rice’ rumours

The Ministry of Agriculture has moved to debunk fears that “plastic rice” has been distributed across the Kingdom in the wake of a series of Facebook posts from people claiming to have swallowed grains of plastic.

“According to the experiment, the Ministry . . . kindly informs the public that in the samples of milled rice provided by the Cambodia Rice Confederation, there is no plastic substance in the rice,” the ministry announced on Friday, adding that misinformation could affect the price of the product.

Six samples from across the country were tested in the ministry’s laboratory, said lab director Choun Mony Roth. “It is impossible for plastic to be made into milled rice, but it can be made into plastic pills for other products,” she said.

Roth added that it made no economic sense for rice to be crafted from plastic, as a kilogram of plastic retails at $1.50, while the same amount of rice costs between $0.50 and $0.75.

Last year rice-milling company Minh Bo admitted plastic pieces of milling equipment had ended up in bags of rice, which gave consumers headaches and stomachaches.

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