There go the Chinese again, out-competing us with their manufacturing prowess:

Singapore media claim that fake rice is being distributed in the Chinese town of Taiyuan, in Shaanxi province. This “rice” is a mix of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and plastic. It is formed by mixing the potatoes and sweet potatoes into the shape of rice grains, then adding industrial synthetic resins.

A Chinese Restaurant Association official said that eating three bowls of this fake rice would be like eating one plastic bag. Due to the seriousness of the matter, he added that there would be an investigation of factories alleged to be producing the rice. Meanwhile, the low cost of the fake rice is allowing wholesalers to make large profits.

Yum!

Given my prior extensive coverage of the melamine-spiked "gluten" scandal, nothing would shock me when it comes to Chinese food safety. But what I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around is how it could possibly be cheaper to manufacture rice than it is to, you know, grow it?

Though I guess there's a kinda weird economic logic to all this, as only in a nation that pays its workers so little as to make the manufacture of fake rice viable, could there be such a strong market demand for a cheaper alternative to such a relatively inexpensive staple foodstuff.

Welcome to the Chinese Century.