Word of the Week: Poison Rice

毒大米 (dú dàmǐ): poison rice

Rice that has been treated with toxic chemicals to increase its marketability. Old rice (陈米 chén mǐ) that has been stored for over a year is polished, treated with chemicals, and coated with paraffin, giving the grains a translucent appearance. The treated rice can cause negative health effects.

“Poison rice” became an online watchword in May 2013 with a scare over rice that had been tainted with the toxic heavy metal cadmium (镉 gé).

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“It isn’t convenient to write down all the ingredients,” explains the imperial official. Cadmium billows out of the bag of rice he guards.

Food safety scandals repeatedly pop up in China, creating a general unease about products like cooking oilinfant formula, and fast food. A list of 50 “Toxic Foods You Need to Know” from 2008 covers an unnerving range of products.

See also ditch oil and poison milk powder.

01300000258678123504462906483The Word of the Week comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.