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Monday, June 19, 2017

FAKE FOOD: An Engineer Made and Cooked Plastic Rice And Here's What Happened

Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.





Social Media and Fake News
Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.


Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.


FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake?
We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.


Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
Shokuhin sampuru - they look so real, they are making me hungry while I'm writing this blog.
Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.




Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk,
Just Make Fake Egg Shell
But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.


This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.

So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?

The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?



The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.


FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.


The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.

Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.


It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.




Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.

According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.


Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, 
shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.

The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.


Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.

Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
These are all rice, of different varieties. None of them are plastic. When you see rice that is not familiar, it does not mean it's plastic or fake.
It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.




The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.

If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.






Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests
What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:

Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa)

This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).

Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black.

Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
This rice is 100% real, with it's bottom part an authentic "tutong"!

Myth #3
When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark.

(compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict)
Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.

Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall.
Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
Onigiri, Japanese Rice Balls made from real sticky rice.

Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together.
This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.

Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew.

Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.

Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats.

Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
I'm sure you have seen this while washing real rice. This test is NOT scientific.

Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water.

Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.
Social Media and Fake News Since early 2011, social media rumors have asserted plastic rice was being manufactured in China, exported, and consumed by people in other countries unaware the rice they were eating was in fact not a food at all. This is also not the first time that China is accused of manufacturing and distributing fake food stuff - powdered milked tainted with melamine, fake eggs, fake vegetables and fake meat.  Proofs in the form of videos are abundant in YouTube and other social media platforms, showing what many say are fake foods being manufactured. In this article, we will separate facts from fakes and reveal the truth about FAKE FOOD. I warn you, this blog is long, and it has several videos, but I assure you that it is worthwhile.  FAKE VEGETABLES - You Think You Won't Taste Fake? We'll start with this alleged video of a man, making fake cabbage or lettuce, which most people who shared the video say is, from China.  Looks certainly real doesn't it? But are you going to find this kind of fake cabbage in your local market? The answer is simply no. For one, the video above is not from China. It's actually in Japan. But why is a Japanese man making a fake cabbage? If you do some research, you will actually learn that fake food is quite common and famous in Japan. They are called shokuhin sampuru, which means sample in English. This art form actually started in the late 1920's when Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for restaurant patrons to order without the use of menus. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to vinyl chloride.  Looking back at the claims that plastic vegetables are being sold in the market, do you think that you won't be able to tell the difference of real vegetable versus plastic or wax by taste alone? But if collecting plastic food is your taste, you can actually one order here. Warning though, they are more expensive than real food. Below is a good video showing the industry of shokuhin sampuru or sample food in Japan.  Fake Eggs - Why Make Fake Egg Yolk, Just Make Fake Egg Shell But what about that video of fake egg being made in China? What's the purpose of making fake eggs? Are these being sold in the market? Let's watch the video.  This is the clearest video I found of fake egg - making. Clearly, the process being shown is part of a laboratory set-up in a school or university. The person making the video even has an ID that says "student helper". You can also see some laboratory equipment in the background, two heating magnetic stirrers.  So what is the purpose of making fake eggs? Nothing else but a demonstration of chemistry. But what about the many examples of fake eggs in the news, on social media and YouTube?  The explanation is simple. The lack of knowledge in science, as well as the nature of social media has contributed to the phenomena of fake eggs. In truth, the profit of selling real eggs are already small that you have to sell a large volume to make good profit. To be able to make a profit selling fake eggs (which had to be sold at lower prices than the real one), then you have to keep the cost even lower and the production faster - both of which are impossible to do if you watched the video above.  The method of fake egg production seen above is too labour-intensive. Compare that to a poultry farm that produce eggs in the hundreds or even thousands per day. Also, if one wants to make and sell fake eggs, why bother to make the yolk inside, no one really breaks open an egg before buying it, right?  The many verifiable news of fake eggs or plastic/wax eggs being sold turn out to be real eggs after all! But why are these eggs bad tasting, rubbery or deformed? This is because these "fake" eggs are actually real eggs gone bad. Several factors cause these bad attributes to the eggs - eggs coming from sick hens, hens fed with feed containing too much Gossypol causing "rubbery eggs", the feed given to the hens may contain too much heavy metal thus tasting funny, or the eggs may have been frozen or has been stored for a long time and is expired. These may have been the "fake eggs" being sold unscrupulously in China and other markets.   FAKE RICE - PLASTIC RICE - BAD RICE - REAL RICE Let us go into the fake food item most reported in the news, rice. As shown in the first video above, a machine is being fed by plastic sheets and what comes out at the far end are what appears to be grains of rice. Too bad because the video is not very clear. What is clear however, especially to people who work in the plastics industry, is that the machine being used is actually a Plastic Extruder Machine. It is commonly used to recycle discarded plastic materials. The video below clearly shows how it works, and the end product, while in the form of grains, are actually called pellets.  The machine shown being used to make fake rice looks very similar to the one here, and the material being fed to the extruder are clearly plastic sheets. Therefore, we can say that the people in those videos were NOT making plastic rice but recycling plastic.  Before we continue, I'd like to make a clear distinction regarding Fake or Plastic Rice and Artificial or Manufactured Rice.  It is TRUE that there is a substitute to naturally farmed rice - this is manufactured or artificial rice. These are made of broken rice or other ingredients like corn or sweet potatoes that are processed and shaped into rice-shaped pellets using a rice extruder machine that is different with the one used for plastics. An example is shown in the video below.  Manufacturing rice from corn grits and broken rice has plenty of advantages. This allows the reduction of waste since the process re-purposes rejected product into something that is useful. After all, you cannot sell broken rice grains or corn kernels in the market, they are usually thrown away or fed to farm animals. Another advantage is that, the process of making manufactured rice allows for the addition of vital nutrients into the mix making a healthier form of the food. Using other sources of starch also increases the fiber content of the finished product. Manufactured rice is safe to consume, and could even be healthier, than real rice. One brand available in the Philippines is RiCo Corn Rice.  According to University of the Philippines professor Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, an important distinction needs to be made between "fake rice" and "fabricated rice".  Now let's get into that Fake Rice. This one is clearly NOT EDIBLE. But what one needs to know is that fake rice exists in two forms, one that is intended to be a display, shokuhin sampuru, and one that is taking advantage of technology to make a quick profit.  The second type of fake rice is the one which we have to be careful of - counterfeit rice. This type of fake rice is done using the same machine as the one above, the rice extruder. However, people who make this type of rice use the cheapest forms of starch. Worse, they mix them with plasticizers and other bonding compounds to make the grains form. Finally, these plastic-infused rice are sold as high end rice varieties for huge profits.  Purely plastic rice is not really sold off as real rice. They are simply too expensive to make for people to gain money out of it. Others claim that some vendors mix plastic rice with real rice in order to make more profits. This is really not logical since a grain of plastic rice is lighter than real rice. Since rice is being sold by weight, mixing plastic with real rice will reduce its weight, making for a lesser profit.  It is equally important to know that many of the fake rice news stories turns out to be a product of panic and lack of knowledge about rice. In these situations, the rice are all real, however, they were contaminated by either bacteria, fungus or chemical compounds - thus affecting the taste and/or texture of the rice and leading people to conclude them as fakes. One example is the video below.  The problem with the fake rice phenomenon is that most people who say that the rice they bought from the market is fake is actually basing their conclusions on their own observations, or worse on YouTube videos. Actually, most of these viral videos found online showing how to test for plastic rice are not really scientific. The most common reason why the rice that is labeled as fake is because it was not cooked properly, been too long in the shelf or has been contaminated.  If you really want to see plastic rice compared to real authentic farm to table rice, watch this engineer explain the difference in this video. It's in Tamil Language but it has English subtitles.  Test for Fake Rice - Fake Tests What about the other videos showing tests for finding plastic rice? Let's take them up one by one and think for yourself if they are accurate or not:  Myth #1: Plastic rice grains burns when lighted, real rice do not. (or vice-versa) This is of course not entirely true. In reality, plastic rice would melt or burn (depending on the type of plastic). Real rice however, will really alight with fire and burn. This is because rice is made of dry organic compound (starch).  Myth #2: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will burn and turn dark or black. Actually, if you are cooking real rice in a pan, cauldron or rice pot, and you forgot about it, it will really turn black, starting from the bottom. Perhaps the reason people have forgotten or don't know about this nowadays is that almost everyone now uses a rice cooker. As for that plastic rice, it will melt first before it will start to burn.  Myth #3: When cooked on a pan, plastic rice will deform and change shape. Real rice will turn dark. (compare this to Myth #2, and see how they contracdict) Actually, the reaction of rice being heated in the pan depends on the moisture level or the grains. Deformation really happens to rice grains much like when you heat corn kernels to make popcorn.  Myth #4: When cooked, plastic rice is very sticky, and can be formed into a ball that bounces when dropped or thrown on the wall. Actually, real rice, when cooked, is sticky. That is due to the starch in the rice. The "stickiness" however depends on the variety of rice. As for the bouncing effect, that is due to the elastic property of rice itself. Add to that, forming a ball traps air within, adding to the bouncy effect. Rice balls are not new in fact. In Japan, they are called Onigiri. They are like sushi but shaped into a ball.  Myth #5: When cooked, plastic rice is mushy and does not really stick together. This is due to the fact that rice comes in a multitude of varieties. The methods for cooking rice, including the amount of water used, varies from each variety as well. Adding too much water in one variety of rice causes it to be mushy, but the same amount of water used in another variety may not be enough and cause the rice to be hard to chew and digest.  Myth #6: When cooked, plastic rice remains hard and is difficult to chew. Again, this is due to different rice varieties. See above explanation.  Myth #7: Uncooked rice sinks in water, plastic rice floats. Placing rice in water, it is normal to find some grains floating. This is not because the floating bits are plastic. They are simply being held up by surface tension on the water. As for this test, it does not really discriminate between real and plastic rice. There are actually several types of plastics and some of them sink in water like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and some float like PP (polypropylene).  Myth #8: Boiling plastic rice will form a layer of film on the surface of the water. Actually, boiling real rice will form this film on the surface of the water. This is the starch in the rice. In fact, you will observe the same film when cooking oats and pasta. The more starchy the food is, the more this film will form.  So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.   To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.  Final thoughts. Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.
Excess starch accumulates on the water surface, forming a thin later of film as the rice cooks. 

So what is the real test for fake or plastic rice? The easiest one is simply, cook the rice. If it's plastic or fake, it will not be cooked at all no matter how much you boil it.



To sum things up, we must remember the following. First, counterfeit food items are not necessarily fake food items. When we say counterfeit, these are cheap food items being labeled as original in order to be sold at a higher price. Fake food on the other hand is simply that, fake, not edible. Plastic food is fake food. Artificial food on the other hand does not mean they are not edible. In fact we eat a lot of artificial foods daily. Just watch this video.



Final thoughts.
Beyond the sensationalized videos of fake rice, fake eggs and fake lettuce, we must be more aware of the food that we eat. Do you really know where your food comes from and are you familiar with how it was prepared? And if you choose to be proactive about sourcing the food that you eat, are you willing to grow your own vegetables, take care of egg-laying chickens and slaughter your own cow or pig for that 100% authentic steak or pork chop? Of course there are other ways to ensure that the food you eat are organic and real. One simply needs to educate oneself, first, by using the internet more responsibly.






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