Anhui processors used local strains with artificial flavourings, says agriculture ministry
Thai authorities have taken steps to have charges filed in China against three factories in Anhui province for selling counterfeit Thai jasmine rice.
The charges are being laid and publicised to ensure Chinese customers are aware about the quality of genuine Thai jasmine rice, said Prayoon Insakoon, permanent secretary of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.
The ministry is working with the Thai Agricultural Consular Office in China to press the case, he said on Friday.
Mr Prayoon earlier received a report about counterfeit Thai rice brands from Artinan Intharapim, the agricultural consul at the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Shanghai.
An investigation by the consul found that the companies — Anhui Huainan Shouxian Yongliang Rice Industry; Anhui Xiangwang Cereals, Oils, and Food Technology; and Huainan Chufeng Industry and Trade — sold a processed local rice breed with artificial scent and flavouring and passed it off as Thai jasmine rice.
The rice the companies used in their products was Dao Hua Xiang rice, a local rice strain in Anhui that was first bred in 2010, the investigation found.
The factories processed the rice used pyrazine and pyrrole to scent their products. Both pyrazine and pyrrole are considered illegal food flavourings in China.
The investigation also found that the three companies bought artificial scents from Shanghai Rofeeflavor Fragrant and Shanghai Fengmi Industrial.
Both Shanghai-based companies were found to have produced unauthorised artificial food flavourings.
Anhui Xiangwang Cereals, Oils, and Food Technology, which trademarked its product as Thai jasmine rice, was also charged with having a business registration that expired six years ago.
According to Mr Prayoon, many online shops selling artificial food flavourings were closed after the news about the counterfeit rice was published.
The three factories have been charged with processing foods for the purpose of producing counterfeit products.
The factories were closed as authorities seized production equipment for investigation. The products and the seized equipment will be destroyed after the investigation, he said.