Stores back rice test to protect basmati name

13 March 2003
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13 March 2003

Retailers have welcomed a move to stop rice sold as the high-quality basmati variety being mixed with long-grain alternatives.

Guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) say only 16 varieties of the rice from India and Pakistan can be labelled as basmati.

David Southwell, spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, representing most UK shops, said customers should be told exactly what they are buying.

"It's up to manufacturers and importers to make sure they have systems in place to ensure grain authenticity when it comes to labelling," he said.

A new test can distinguish between rice varieties, and a survey into how manufacturers label their packets is under way.

Checks four years ago found other types of rice were often in products claiming to be basmati.

Britain imports 175,000 tons of basmati rice each year.

SMmar2003

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