Quality is a powerful driver for upgrading the food value chain in developing countries. In response to consumer heterogeneity, the rice industry tends to provide a wide range of quality classes, ranging from poor to good quality rice, suitable for different market segments.
How would you react to the question, are you buying the right rice? This question is relevant because more and more attention is being paid to the quality and hygienic condition of rice as a determining factor when purchasing it.
When buying rice, your goal is to buy healthy rice. Healthy rice is safe to consume, but experts say there are a few factors consumers should consider, especially when buying in bulk from open markets and nearby stores.
The plethora of rice brands in the market has offered consumers a variety of choices. More than the challenge of identifying rice is identifying the right quality.
Some are sold in bulk as seen in tubs and bulk containers while others are packaged. The form of presentation in bulk or commercially packaged has a negative or positive impact on the quality of the rice.
Talk to Daily Trust on Sunday Mr. Alimi Adamu, a rice processing expert, said, “When rice is sold in bulk, many factors affect it negatively.
“First, the aging of rice in a loose form which can affect its physical and chemical properties and in turn its quality is a major consideration. Different brands of rice have expiry dates that buyers of products in cups, containers plastic and bedpans of different sizes are unfamiliar as they have been removed from the bags.
“It is therefore possible that many consumers will buy expired rice, with the very high risk of consuming unhealthy products whose quality cannot be guaranteed and are therefore not fit for human consumption.”
He said another factor is the state of the local market where the rice is sold. because all items are sold close to each other. The rice can be contaminated with stones, dust, husks and other foreign matter, which affects the quality.
“It can also be exposed to microorganisms, rodents, insects and other disease-causing pathogens. Although some of these contaminants can be removed in home washing, not all of them may be. In recent times, when the fear of diseases has intensified, these factors are worth considering.
He argued that displaying rice in open containers that are unhygienic and on floors is very harmful to human health.
In Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 200,000 people die each year from food poisoning due to foodborne pathogens (particularly Escherichia coli and Salmonella). These deaths are caused by food contaminated by improper storage, processing, preservation and handling.
He said, “When rice is sold in bulk, the consumer will have to guess the brand and may not be able to make informed choices. The unsuspecting consumer is also vulnerable to retailers who might want to take advantage to sell poor quality rice at the price of high quality rice. “
Rice manufacturers take every precaution to ensure quality and safety, but exposing or bulk rice to market by retailers can compromise quality.
Citing one example, he said, “Big Bull Rice is premium parboiled rice, 100% made in Nigeria. It is sorted cleaned; stone-free and has a high swelling index. Big Bull Rice production goes through extreme measures to ensure safety. When you eat Big Bull Rice, you can rest assured that great efforts are being made to keep your health safe.
He said that to ensure that the interest of low-income people is taken into account in the packaging, it has been introduced at prices that every consumer can afford – in packs as small as 750g and 2.25kg to that everyone has access to quality rice without worrying about other irritants. Consumers need not worry about contamination and are assured of original Big Bull quality.