Probe finds fake basmati
A trading standards investigation found bags of fake basmati rice destined for curry houses.
City council officers tested 15 imported samples of basmati and found four contained cheaper rices mixed with the premium variety and one that may have had no basmati at all.
Most of the samples, including the worst, were from wholesalers in Leicester.
The rest were from companies based elsewhere which supply Leicester shops and, in turn, restaurants.
Cheap Van Insurance For 17,18 & 19 Year Old Drivers - Call Insure365 01782 898188, Free Legal Protection Cover Included valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Monday, June 24 2013
The Food Standards Agency is conducting a national investigation into imported foods.
Merybell Smith, the city's trading standards manager, said she was disappointed to find cheap rice mixed in with basmati.
"Basmati rice sells at a premium and where samples fail, consumers are being short-changed," she said.
"We expect the follow-up advice and support given to importers will produce better results in the future."
Details of the investigation, which took place in September and October, were presented at a full council meeting last night.
Ron Ruddock, the city's head of trading standards, said: "All of the samples were due to be sold in shops or wholesalers in Leicester."
He said the wholesaler in Leicester which "failed miserably" had now stopped trading.
The other businesses selling the fake rice have been given advice, but not prosecuted.
Basmati is grown in specific areas of India and Pakistan and sells at two to three times the price of ordinary long-grain rice.
Sunil Anand, director of Indian restaurant The Curry Fever, in Belgrave Road, Leicester, said: "Basmati tastes very different to other types of rice. It is very soft with lots of flavour.
"You can buy a similar brand at a more reasonable price but you can taste the difference when you cook with it."
Under the UK Basmati Rice Code of Practice, a rice cannot be described as basmati if non-basmati varieties exceed 7% of the total product.
Basmati comes into Europe free of import duty, which acts as an incentive for people to mix it with cheaper varieties.
The samples in the trading standards study were tested by a specialist company which uses DNA techniques.
Samples were also tested for harmful toxins created when rice is stored in damp places. All were found to be safe.
The Food Standards Agency is co-ordinating the results nationally from all the councils taking part and will publish the names of the wholesalers and results later in the year.