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Hoax Alert: Many “plastic rice” bouncing rice ball videos are viral

There were many articles and images circulating on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This phenomenon has reportedly reached several thousand WhatsApp groups as well. However, recently, the videos showing rice balls bouncing on floor and table surface is becoming viral everywhere. People are so much worried that they’re not even checking the facts before sharing such videos. Let’s try to find out the truth behind the bouncing/jumping rice balls.

I have gone through 5 random videos that are alleging “Plastic Rice” to the rice ball they made using their hands by spinning in their palm and applying pressure from fingers. When they throw the rice ball onto the floor and a table surface, these rice balls bounce back and don’t even break or shatter. And, if you watch carefully, they keep on spinning and applying pressure on those rice balls in order to keep it stuck together. So, what’s the reason behind these “easily unbreakable” rice balls? Are those rice made by using synthetic materials like plastic or just a hoax?

It’s just a HOAX. You can call those claims made in videos “Fake“. Why? Because, any of those videos shows no evidences to prove that the grains used are made using synthetic materials. They just make the rice balls and throw it on the floor to make it bounce. For your information, the rice grains has “starch” in it. And the starch has two main parts in every rice grain – Amylose and Amylopectin.

Starch in the rice grain consists of 20% to 30% of Amylose and 70% to 80% of Amylopectin. While cooking or boiling, Amylopectin forms starch gel or paste that makes the rice stickier. If the ratio of the mixture of Amylose and Amylopectin changes, the rice’s stickiness behaviour also changes. More Amylopectin will result in more Amylose. Read more about this here: http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/starch.html

Watch This Video To Know The Facts Quickly:

Sometimes, the rice with less Amylopectin starch gets the stickiness behaviour when it cools down and hardened. I hope you remember using boiled and then cooled rice grains as glue on papers in your childhood! So, according to this information, the rice grains showed in videos have same behaviour of sticking together when made as a ball. Keep it in mind that the persons who are in those videos have applied pressure to make the rice balls, which is also one of the reason for the stickiness of the rice grains with each other.

If you try to make rice balls at home, it may bounce back or just shatter, depending on the variety of rice you are using. Hence, keep it in mind that the bouncing rice balls are not made using plastic rice. So, is Plastic Rice real or fake?

The rumours and reports on social media related to the plastic rice are not new. First report of fake rice or plastic rice was surfaced on the internet in 2011. Later, several videos showing the manufacturing of plastic rice, bouncing rice balls and sticky rice grains were surfaced. And you know, how people behave in panic – they just share it everywhere to raise awareness amongst their loved ones. So far, the reality of Plastic Rice is UNPROVEN, according to a reputed fact checking website Snopes.

These rumours are targeting China as the source of such artificial, plastic rice. These videos are viral in Asian countries like Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Pakistan and elsewhere. Even in December 2016, BBC News has also reported “plastic rice seized in Nigeria.” It’s reporter Martin Patience (Lagos, Nigeria) stated that it isn’t a ordinary rice:

When I smelt a handful of the “rice” there was a faint chemical odour. Customs officials say when they cooked up the rice it was too sticky – and it was then abundantly clear this was no ordinary batch.

100 bags of alleged fake rice were seized and samples were sent for the laboratory research report. And, in the same month, the BBC report said that the rice seized in Nigeria aren’t made of plastic or any synthetic materials. It was a contaminated rice, which contained bacteria “above permissible limits.”

In November 2016, Singapore Customs seized 5000 bags (129 tons) of counterfeit rice bags with a fake sign of Singapore-based company. However, the report was misunderstood and misquoted on social media and were spread saying that “fake rice seized“, which ultimately becomes “plastic rice seized in Singapore.”

From the above screenshot of Google Search Bar Suggestions will tell you how popular this search term – plastic rice seized by singapore customs – in Singapore or other parts of the world. There was a video made by a person in India, which showed a packet of “India Gate Basmati Rice” in the video, alleging that the rice was fake and plastic. The company has came up with an official statement about this claim and rumors and even it has taken legal actions against the creator and injunction against the social media platform to block the video. Later, the founder of the company had to rectify the matter through a YouTube video:

Rumours take birth in no time, but it lives a longer life – thanks to the majority of social media users. Don’t be a fool, be an intelligent and responsible social media user!

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