Who is trying to invent ‘plastic rice’ to scare ignorant consumers?

The so-called Organic food lobby and some Hindutva ideologists could be behind the rumour factory that spreads lies about ‘plastic rice’ and ‘plastic eggs’ and the dearth of scientific temper leads consumers to believe such stories.

[By Narendra Nayak]

India food politics… now noodle ban?

The recent publicity for plastic rice made me ponder on why these rumours are being circulated. After a lot of analysis and a few experiments later the truth flashed upon me- it is the organic, yoga lobby!

Just take a look at the economics- good quality rice sells around 40 per kg, the rates for plastic are not less than 120 per kg and add to that the labour, wastage and all the factors that go into manufacturing and one will wonder why anyone would try to make profits by making ‘plastic rice’! [Plastic rice, if it exists, will be a real loss-making proposition!]

The same with sugar.

Coming to ‘synthetic eggs’, with the natural eggs selling at `5 each how can any one be expected to make huge profits from manufacturing them from unspecified raw materials by an apparently very labour intensive process?

Looking at these made me recall an event I had attended at a village near Chitradurga a month back. It was a ‘simple’ marriage organized by a member of the Karnataka Raitha Sangha and along with the ceremony; the invitees were to be made aware of many current issues. I was supposed to speak about consumer protection and the speaker before me about organic farming, yoga and a variety of such desi topics! From the nonsense he spoke about a variety of issues I could gather that the lobby which he represents is out to make windfalls from the promotion of a number of organic, swadesi products and also promote their agenda of Hindutwa.

Let us take a few examples of these- one of the main culprits pointed out by this lobby is sugar- the true one- sucrose from sugar cane- by claiming that it is prepared by using animal bone and claiming that the white sugar is harmful to health, they try to promote what is called as organic sugar and jaggery. While sucrose is not very good for the lipid profile it is a source of quick energy for those who need it- Not withstanding whatever source it may come from!

While ordinary sugar costs Rs.40 per kg; ( a substitute of which can be also made from ‘plastic’- which costs not less than Rs.120 per kg as rumoured) , the organic variety costs three times that! The whole idea of spreading the rumors about animal charcoal, other contaminants is to promote the sale of this so called organic sugar and jaggery.

How about rice then- the staple food of the orient?

Well there is this new found craze for millets called as siridhanyas which are claimed to be panaceas for a number of diseases. This is what an eminent physician, Dr Shrinivas Kakkilaya has to say about them.”Siri dhanyas or rich grains, are nothing but millets, like ragi, the finger millet. They have suddenly become a fad – after Yoga as a cure for all ills, now it’s the time for the Siri Dhanyas as the wonders to prevent and cure all ills. But just as Yoga is neither true yoga, nor is a prevention a cure for any ills, the Siri Dhanyas have no Siri, and no preventive or curative properties against any diseases. Consumption of these millets will neither prevent any disease, particularly diabetes.”

To be fair these need far less water than rice and are also drought resistant. Substituting them for rice may be good idea in the long run but there is no need for spreading lies about rice for that.

We should resist all attempts by anyone to thrust one’s own food habits on others by hook or crook with rumours.

NEWSNET ONE

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