The recent plastic rice scare that has cropped up all over India, even in Visakhapatnam, has affected the sale of the commodity. Posts have been doing rounds on social media that popular brands were resorting to selling plastic rice, causing people to panic. Reportedly, a grocer in Visakhapatnam even had a customer come to return 15 KG of rice she had purchased, suspecting it to be plastic. No amount of assurance from the grocer convinced her as she had read a WhatsApp message about the scare. The grocer had reportedly returned money to five such customers.
Reports state that a lot of customers in Visakhapatnam are returning bags of the commodity in fear that it may be plastic. The scare of plastic rice has affected sales of it in the city, bringing it down by 80% in the last three days.
Another wholesaler told the New Indian Express that he has been trading since 2014 but has never had such bitter experiences. The scare of plastic rice has taken a huge toll on his business. Usually, he imports a lorry filled with 100 tonnes of fine quality rice from Peddapuram and Ramachandrapuram, but there has now been a drastic fall in the same.
The shopkeepers even stated that contrary to what’s making rounds, mixing in plastic rice is not profitable at all. The traders have been even forced to go through unnecessary food checks from food safety officials due to the same. Nukaraju, District Rice Dealers Association Leader reportedly stated that the business in Visakhapatnam has come down by 80%, causing traders to lose sales worth Rs 3 crore in the last three days.
Due to inadequate production of the commodity in the district to cater to a population of nearly 43 lakh, with 22 lakh of them in GVMC limits, these rice traders import in stocks from neighbouring areas. 300 traders procure in 500 tonnes of rice daily, transacting a business of Rs 1.5 crore.
GVMC food safety inspector (FI) S Janardhana Rao stated that no traces of adulteration has been found in Visakhapatnam in the samples collected in the last two days from various dealers. SV Veerabhadra Rao, Gazetted Food Inspector (Visakhapatnam) stated that they’ve seized 73 bags of it from a wholesaler in Pendurthi and five bags from Makavaripalem following complaints. But they have found no traces of adulteration so far.