The European Union including the United Kingdom has expressed concern over alleged adulteration of Basmati, the world's costliest rice, imported into the region and undertaken its own research to make quality assessments.
"UK's Food Standard Agency has successfully concluded research projects revealing adulteration of Basmati with cheaper varieties leading to decreased expression of the chief characteristics of Basmati," EU sources told PTI.
A recent FSA meet discussed one of the studies contracted to the University of Nottingham Plant Science Division. The study describes Basmati as a weak stemmed, low-yielding plant with the difficulties involved in harvesting having motivated cross-breeding programmes.
It said attempts to increase the yield by this method had also resulted in decreased expression of the characteristic Basmati properties.
Indian government officials, however, are not convinced with the study and said, "Our information is that the assessment was made without any authentic basmati rice as basic input for research."
Another study contracted to Natural Resources Institute and University of Greenwich revealed the adulteration of Basmati with cheaper varieties had become an area for potential exploitation.
It said there is a need to develop a method to enable differentiation of Basmati varieties from other long grain rice to ensure consumer protection. Indian officials said EU imports brown rice which is then processed and packaged there itself. "Instead of alleging adulteration, EU must regulate its own traders, millers and distributors."