First reported in Davao City, Philippines, the fake rice grains, colored mostly white, when cooked, gave an unnatural consistency, nearly that of styrofoam. Compressed by hands, it is obvious that it was not organic rice at all.

The couple that encountered the fake rice approached the National Food Authority regarding it, who asked them to produce samples of the dubious staple food. The Philippine Department of Health and Food and Drug Administration likewise was concerned and also asked for samples for analysis.

The incident coincided with reports that “synthetic rice” was circulating across the Asia region. The rice is laced with synthetic resin, a prominent component in manufacturing plastic wares. Needless to say, consuming such things can give health complications, if not outright kill.

The government warned against consuming unusual-looking rice and appealed to the people to tell them immediately if they encounter things.

As expected, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is not happy with the discovery of the fake rice. He issued a warning against syndicates who may bring poisonous fake rice manufactured in China to the Philippine market.

“You better stop it. Huwag mong gawin ‘yan kasi ipapakain ko sa iyo lahat yan. (Don’t do it because I will have you eat all of that.) If you’ll be caught with 200 tons of fake rice I’ll give you 24 hours to consume it all,” Duterte said in his weekly program Gikan Sa Masa, Para sa Masa.

The presence of fake rice in the country should be under the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture (DA)and National Food and Authority (NFA), Duterte added.

The DA already instructed the Bureau of Plant Industry to perform necessary measures to prevent the possible entry of fake rice.

Experts say uncooked fake rice appear similar to genuine rice in terms of color and texture, making it hard to distinguish in its raw stage.

The NFA assured fake rice has not yet been reported in the country. Should any fake rice be encountered, immediately report such incidents to the NFA hotline +63-906-436-3133.