The Food Standards Agency and trading standards officials are taking steps to fight back against what they say is the growing problem of Basmati rice fraud.

In 2003 a survey by the FSA found that 46% of 363 Basmati rice samples taken from across the country were heavily contaminated with non-Basmati rice.

Since then there has been a spate of prosecutions, most recently Basmati Rice UK on 15 May, for supplying batches of 'Basmati' rice which contained high levels of non-Basmati rice.

The Essex-based supplier was fined £1,350 for each batch, and ordered to pay costs of £6,376. This case followed the prosecution of Surya Rice on 5 May, when the company was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £6,294.

In January, the UK Rice Association released a new code of practice developed in partnership with the British Retail Consortium and the British Rice Millers Association.

The new code specifies that where the description of the product is 'Basmati' rice, the non-Basmati rice content must not exceed 7%, rather than the previous level of 20%.

In addition, the level of broken grains must not exceed 10%. The UK Rice Association is completing a new survey. The results are expected shortly.