Lagos, Laboratory tests showed that a large consignment of rice seized last week by customs officials in Nigeria was contaminated, but not plastic as feared.

"The tests carried out by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) show that it is not plastic rice," Jerry Attah, a spokesman for the customs service, told German Press Agency dpa.

However, he said that the rice was unfit for human consumption because it contained a very high level of bacteria.

Last week, the customs service said it had confiscated 102 bags or 2.5 tons of "plastic rice" from a dealer who was subsequently arrested.

Rice samples were sent to NAFDAC to determine its actual chemical composition.

The news that the confiscated product was potentially dangerous plastic rice, some of which might have found its way into the open market, caused panic in Nigeria.

Rice is a staple food in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.

Source: Qatar News Agency