Ricegate: China’s fake jasmine rice scandal rocks Thai Exporters Association
The Thai Rice Exporter Association recently raised concerns and demanded solutions after a rice mill in China was found to be producing fake jasmine rice and using a Thai brand name to deceive customers.
The President of the Thai Rice Exporter Association, Chukiat Opassawong, revealed in an interview with KhaoSod that the rice mill in China had been producing fake Thai jasmine rice by adding a flavouring agent and using Thai language on the packaging and branding. Chukiat stated…
“The Ministry of Commerce should find a solution to this issue or provide information about authentic Thai jasmine rice to Chinese customers. The best thing Thailand can do is promote our authentic products and tell customers how Thai jasmine rice is different from others. It is hard for Thailand to suppress the issue by ourselves because the Chinese market is huge and the country is the master of counterfeit products. Filing a lawsuit against the factory is also difficult and requires a lot of budgets.”
MGR Online reported that Chinese authorities raided a rice mill in the Anhui province of China and found fake Thai jasmine rice under the brand Tai Jue Wang and Thai Princess.
The Deputy Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade (DFT), Manatsanit Jirawat, reported today that the rice mill in question had already been closed down by Chinese authorities because adding flavouring agents to rice is illegal in China.
Manatsanit explained that the DFT informed the Thai Commercial Affairs Office in Beijing and the Thai International Trade Promotion Department in Shanghai about the issue. These two departments said they would work together to follow up on the situation and promote certified Thai jasmine rice brands to Chinese customers.
Thai jasmine rice, also known as Thai Hom Mali rice, is a type of long-grain rice that is considered one of the best in the world. Its name came from its natural aroma which is similar to the jasmine flower fragrance.
During the World’s Best Rice event in Phuket last year, Paka Lamduan rice from Cambodia was named the world’s best rice in 2022, defeating Thai jasmine rice, which came in second place, followed by rice from Vietnam.
According to a report on WorkPoint Today, the judge, an American chef, noted that both Thai and Cambodian rice had good qualities, but Cambodian rice offered a better aroma than Thai rice. Chukiat admitted that Thai jasmine rice did not smell as good as it used to and suggested that too much rainfall during the year may have contributed to this change.
Some Thai customers and farmers expressed concerns that the quality of Thai jasmine rice had declined due to the use of pesticides and chemical substances. Many Thai farmers have turned to sustainable and organic farming practices to maintain the rice’s quality and safety and to care for the environment.
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