Do you ever wonder why some store brought white pepper powder is so tasteless? There is a high chance the white pepper is mixed with rice flour, one of the most common adulterants in white pepper powder.

Why would they mix white pepper powder with rice flour?

  1. Rice is one of the cheapest commodity can use to lower production costs and increase profit margin.
  2. They are hardly noticeable in the white pepper powder. The rice smell is covered by the white pepper smell.
  3. They are used to brighten the color of white pepper powder to make it more appealing to the consumer.
  4. They are used as anti-caking agents.

How to spot rice flour in white pepper powder?

Color

Rice flour, 50/50 blend, pure white pepper powder
Rice flour (left), 50/50 blend (center), pure white pepper powder (right).

The color of white pepper powder adulterated with rice flour will appear brighter (as pictured above).

Density

Pure white pepper powder and white pepper powder adulterated with rice flour, in grocery store
Pure white pepper powder (left), white pepper powder adulterated with rice flour (right).

In the picture above, both bottles contain the same amount of white pepper (80g), but do you notice that the volume of white pepper powder in both bottles is different? The (adulterated) white pepper powder in the right side bottle takes up less space. As rice flour is denser than white pepper powder, mixing them together will make them take up less space. And it also brightens the color of the white pepper mixture.

Flowability

White pepper powder adulterated with rice flour, in grocery store, turned upside down
White pepper adulterated with rice flour, bottle flipped upside down, the powder flows freely to the bottom.
Pure white pepper powder, in grocery store, turned upside down
Pure white pepper, bottle flipped upside down, some powder still stuck at the top.

White pepper powder mixed with rice flour tend to flow better and reduce the caking effect. Rice flour is a common anti-caking agent. It is able to absorb moisture before the white pepper powder does.


3 Comments

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