TL;DR – Not plastic rice lah.
There was a rumour circulating just earlier this week that FairPrice’s HouseBrand jasmine rice is not rice, but some fake thing made from plastic. That rumour got widely circulated through various platforms, including WhatsApp and word of mouth. Since rice is our staple food, it naturally caused caused some panic.
The rumour is just that. A rumour. Baseless and completely false.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has in place a system of routine surveillance where imported rice is regularly inspected and sampled to ensure compliance with our food safety standards and requirements.
FairPrice has since released this statement on its Facebook page,
We’ve noticed a recent message on social media asserting that our FairPrice housebrand jasmine fragrant rice is made of plastic.
This is false.
We’d like to assure all our shoppers that our rice is 100% safe for consumption, and have passed stringent safety checks by the authorities. We would like to advise the public not to further circulate this malicious rumour. Thank you!”
FairPrice has also lodged a police report.
We hope that the police will be able to apprehend the people who started circulating the rumour soon. Then, we hope that the law comes down like a ton of bricks on those dastardly nefarious perpetrators. They must be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows.
Why? Two reasons – as punishment for the damage the rumour has done, and to serve as a deterrence.
1. Hurting the interests of the low income
Who are the people most likely to buy FairPrice’s housebrand rice? Families with low income. Outreach programmes that help people who have low or no income.
In other words, the people who would be most affected by this fake rumour are those who have low or no income.
Imagine if people with low or no income heard about this rumour and believed it. Then they would have to buy some other rice instead of FairPrice’s housebrand rice. They will likely end up spending more on their rice. Their overall expenditure on food would increase as a result. Because they don’t have much money to start with, any increase in expenditure would be significant and would mean they have less to spend on other important things.
According to FairPrice’s official website,
The FairPrice HouseBrand was introduced in 1985 to offer better value and savings, and make essential items more affordable to our customers. The items are, on average, priced 10 to 15 per cent lower than comparable products.
So the people who started this rumour are ultimately hurting people with low or no incomes. Why are they so heartless? Since they are so heartless, society shouldn’t show them any mercy. We should thus punish them as severely as the law allows.
Oh… but what if the people who started the rumour aren’t as heartless and malicious as we made them out to be? Maybe they are just thoughtless people who were playing some idiotic prank. They may well be some witless youths. So? Stupidity or thoughtlessness is not a legal defence.
In fact, in order to prevent other people from doing this same thing in future, they should still be punished as severely and as publicly as is legally allowed. If it’s up to us, they should be made an example of. All Singaporeans should learn that if you do something as stupid and heartless as this, then you should expect to pay a significant price for it.
What should we do when we receive such rumours?
– Report them to the relevant organisation/company.
– Call AVA.
– Don’t share it, don’t spread it.
Maybe we shouldn’t even tell people that the rumour is false. Because someone down the line will get the rumour without the warning that the rumour is false. And then the rumour will take on a life of its own again.
But what if the rumour is true?
Sure. Perhaps the authorities haven’t gotten wind of it. And there is a chance that the government and media are slow in informing the public about some public safety concerns. It took the government and media really long before informing the public about the hepatitis C outbreak in SGH in 2015. That still doesn’t mean you should spread the rumour without first trying to find other sources of information to corroborate the rumour.
How to do that? Ask our common bff, Google.
Try to find other sources of information that corroborate what you have received. Call the organisation/company and the relevant authorities to ask. Don’t just mindlessly click the share button or send it to whatever WhatsApp groups you have.
Be a bit smarter. That’s how we combat fake news and not let stupid evil people who want to spread fake news from disrupting our way of life.
Remember this, these days there are fake news, fake news everywhere.