Several videos of people bouncing balls made out of cooked rice are going viral on social media giving way to rumours of alleged plastic rice being sold at some places in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Though the government has dubbed these videos as fake, the food and civil supplies department has sent these samples for analysis.

There have been complaints from several places in Hyderabad like the Charminar area, Yousufguda, Saroornagar and Meerpet of ‘plastic rice’ which is causing health problems.

As per a report in the Times of India, two days ago, a customer has complained of found plastic rice being used in a biryani point in Saroornagar in Hyderabad. Soon after, another customer from Meerpet has approached the police with a similar complaint. Acting on his complaint, task force officials of the civil supplies department raided the shop and the seized samples are now being analysed.

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A report in NDTV states that the Meerpet resident was “shocked to find the rice he was eating, when rolled into balls, would bounce like it was made out of rubber.” He also added that the children had been suffering from gastric problems and doctors were not able to cure them.

Consumers complaining of various health problems like stomach ache, pain in hands and legs has also triggered panic among the public. Not just in Hyderabad, rumours of plastic rice are also being floated in Andhra Pradesh too.

Special enforcement teams are being formed by the department of weights and measures (W&M) to keep a tab on rice adulteration. “We came to know about plastic or fake rice through media and social networking sites. We have not received any instructions from our higher-ups so far on this issue, but locally I am sending four food inspectors to check rice with the main rice traders in Visakhapatnam,” W&M assistant food controller Srinivasa Rao told the Times of India.

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The NDTV report also quotes Telugu TV journalist Indrasen as saying that he bought biryani in Saroornagar and when he rolled the rice, it bounced and made a sound. He also claimed that when he complained about the same at the shop, he was attacked by the shopkeepers.

Several videos have gone viral which show that polythene is being inserted into machines from which noodle-like plastic sticks emerge which are then cut into rice. There are also rumours that this ‘plastic rice’ is coming from China.

However, the civil supplies department has rubbished the reports of plastic rice and termed them as ‘fake and baseless’. Urging people not to believe in such rumours, Commissioner of civil supplies, CV Anand told Deccan Chronicle that preliminary test reports of the samples that were collected have revealed that no plastic material was found in the rice.