Fri, May 18, 2012 - Page 2 News List

COA touts benefits of rice noodles

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

A woman holds up new rice noodle products during a press conference in Taipei yesterday. The noodles are being touted as being more nutritious, environmentally friendly and cost -effective than their traditional counterparts.

Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said a new type of rice noodle could support local agriculture and increase the food sufficiency rate in Taiwan.

An increasing acreage of rice paddies has been allowed to lie fallow because of an increased demand for diversified food sources, growing grain imports from abroad and a consequent fall in demand for domestically-grown rice, Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Yu-tsai (黃有才) said at the debut of the new product.

He added that the rice noodle was developed to meet the needs of the people and to increase the food sufficiency rate.

The COA estimates the product could boost annual rice consumption by about 100,000 tonnes, accounting for about 24,000 hectares of rice paddy.

The new rice noodle was developed by a grain products research and development institute, under the aegis of the council’s Agriculture and Food Agency. The product has now been fully developed and is awaiting technology transfer and mass production.

The agency said the rice noodles are made by mixing 30 to 50 percent of rice flour with wheat flour, giving the noodles the nutrition of both rice and wheat, and making the digestion and absorption of nutrients much easier.

“The noodles made from mixing rice flour with wheat flour taste better and are easier to digest, and offer more balanced nutrition,” agency director Li Tsang-lang (李蒼郎) said, adding that the digestion and absorption rate of rice is about 98 percent, so that eating rice noodles causes less burden to the stomach and intestines.

Moreover, the new product should also have a lesser environmental impact.

“The cooking time of the rice noodles can be shortened, saving gas and reducing carbon emissions; and importation of the ingredients is reduced because the rice is grown in Taiwan,” Li said.

The agency said the new rice noodles can be cooked in about half the time of traditional noodles. Also, because rice flour is finer than wheat flour, the natural white color of the noodles should add a visual element to their appeal, it said.

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