Nigerian authorities recently confiscated over 100 bags of fake rice made of plastic smuggled into the country from China.
Local police officers have reportedly arrested a suspect linked to the smuggling of 102 bags of counterfeit rice intercepted on Monday, which officials suspected to have been illegally shipped through Lagos port.
The fake rice, discovered by customs officials in the Ikeja area, were packed in 50-kilo bags labeled “Best Tomato Rice” and had no marking of any packing or manufacturing date, reported the Agence France-Presse reported. On Wednesday, officials stated that the contraband is unsafe for human consumption. A 50-kilo bag is currently priced at 20,000 naira ($64), double the standard price for a bag of rice compared to last year due to inflation.
To boost local production, Nigeria banned rice imports, leading to the exploitation of the sale of fake rice. Officials believe that the smugglers may have been trying to take advantage of the recent surge in prices of the staple food in Nigeria during the holiday season.
“We have done a preliminary analysis of the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it,” customs controller Mohammed Haruna at Ikeja was quoted as saying.
The fake rice is currently being analyzed at the country’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.