Classifying rice

This guide will help you understand the classification of rice and related products, in order to determine the applicable custom duty rates and non-tariff measures applicable to your products.

It applies to husked rice, milled rice and parboiled rice for direct human consumption, presented in packaged form or loose direct to the consumer. It also applies to other products derived from rice.

Classifying rice and the terminology used

Heading 1006 is broken down into four subheadings

1006 10 - Rice in the husk (paddy or rough)

Rice which has retained its husk after threshing is referred to as paddy or rough rice. This means that the rice grains are still tightly enveloped by the husk.

1006 20 - Husked (brown) rice

Husked (brown) rice from which only the husk has been removed. Brown rice is unpolished rice, which has been milled to remove the hull from the kernel but retain the rice bran layer and the germ, which give it a nutty flavor and chewy texture. Long grains of brown rice tend to be less fluffy and tender, and short grains less sticky. Brown rice also takes about twice as long to cook and has a much shorter shelf life (because of the oil in the germ). 

Examples of rice falling within this definition are those with the commercial descriptions 'brown rice', 'cargo rice', 'loonzain' and 'riso sabamato'. Husked brown rice (cargo rice) which although the husk has been removed by mechanical hullers, is still enclosed in the pericarp. Husked rice almost always still contains a small quantity of paddy.

1006 30 - Semi milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed

Rice can also be milled to remove the pericarp (the outer layer of the rice which is still present in brown rice). Rice of this sort has either been semi-milled or wholly milled (also referred to as bleached rice).

Semi-milled rice is consists rice from which the husk, part of the germ and the whole or part of the outer layers of the pericarp, but not the inner layers, have been removed.

Wholly milled rice consists of whole rice from which the pericarp has been completely removed by passage through special tapering cylinders. Wholly milled rice can also be polished and subsequently glazed in order to improve its appearance. The polishing process (which is designed to embellish the mat surface of the plain milled rice is carried out in brush machines or 'polishing cones'. Glazing consists of coating the grains with a mixture of glucose and talcum in special glazing drums. The heading also includes 'Camolino' rice, which consists of milled rice coated with a film of oil.

Rice can also be referred to as parboiled. This means that the grains of rice, whilst still in the husk and before any other process has been carried out (e.g. husking, milling, etc), has been soaked in hot water or steamed and then dried. The grain structure of parboiled rice is only modified to a minor extent by the process it has undergone and is not classed as cooked rice. Such rice, after milling, polishing, etc, takes from 20 to 35 minutes to cook fully. Parboiled rice is usually puffed in appearance.

1006 40 - Broken rice

Broken rice is damaged white rice, broken during processing. During the milling process grain fragments, the length of which does not exceed three quarters of the average length of the whole grain, are separated from the white rice, whose shape remains intact. This is classed as broken rice. A grain of broken rice gives a low fibre texture and low nutrient level, while retaining its high energy. Broken Rice contains more grain fragments within the grain. This type of rice is of a lower quality and is usually used for baby formulas, rice cereals, pet foods, rice wine and rice flour, as well as pre-package or canned goods.

Exclusions from 1006

Heading 1006 only includes rice in an uncooked and unprocessed state. This means that products from the milling of rice are excluded and are classified in chapter 11.
Heading 1006 also excludes rice which has been submitted to a treatment which has considerably modified the grain structure. Pre-cooked rice consisting of worked grains which have been either fully or partially cooked and then dehydrated fall in heading 1904. Partially pre-cooked rice takes 5 to 12 minutes to prepare for consumption, whereas fully precooked rice needs only to be soaked in water and brought to the boil before consumption. 'Puffed' rice obtained by the swelling process and ready for consumption is also classified in heading 1904.

Classifying according to the size of the grain

Rice is generally classified according to the size of the grain.

The length-to-width ratio of the grain size is also taken into account (to calculate this, divide the average length of the grain by the average width).

Alternatively, arrange four pieces of rice. If the piece along the top is shorter than the other three then the length/width ration equals less than three, if it is the same length or longer then the length/width ration will be equal or greater than three.

Short grain rice (also referred to as round) is almost round, with moist grains that stick together when cooked and is generally used for making rice puddings and the like. This type of rice has grains which are of a length not exceeding 5.2 mm and of a length/width ratio of less than 2. Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel.

Medium grain rice is shorter and plumper and works well in dishes such as Paella and Risotto. This type of rice has grains of which are of a length exceeding 5.2 mm but not exceeding 6.0 mm and of a length/width ratio of less than 3.

Long grain rice is long and slender, the grains stay separate after cooking. This type of rice, the grains of which are of a length exceeding 6.0 mm.

Cooked rice

Cooked rice dishes are classified under heading 1904. The following are some examples of products included

  • ready-made meals, consisting of the following two individually packed components, put up in a set for retail sale: (a) pre-cooked rice (150g), and (b) curry (200g) consisting of coconut milk (72%), chicken meat (20%), a mixture of spices (7%), lemon grass (0.5%) and anchovy extract (0.5%).
  • ready-made meals, consisting of the following two individually packed components, put up in a set for retail sale: (a) pre-cooked rice (150 g), and (b) curry (200 g) consisting of coconut milk (50%), beef (20%), potatoes (15%), a mixture of spices (7%), groundnuts (3%), anchovy extract (3%) and onions (2%).
  • microwaveable instant fried rice, with green curry and meat. Ingredients include instant rice, meat (16%), seasoning pack.

If a ready-made rice-based meal contains more than 20% of any kind of meat, fish, crustacean or mollusc (calculated as a percentage of the whole dish) it should be classified as a preparation of that meat or fish in Chapter 16.

Types, varieties and forms of rice

There are many varieties of rice now available, ranging from the familiar white or brown long-grain rice to speciality ones such as basmati and the so-called glutinous rice used in Japanese cooking to make sushi. Rice is also marketed in a variety of convenience packs. Some of these are listed below

Della, Delrose, and Delmont - these varieties combine the qualities of regular long grain rice and basmati rice and have an aroma similar to basmati. However, cooked grains swell in both length and width, like regular long grain rice.

Black Japonica - this is an aromatic rice with a dark black bran. Like brown rice, it is minimally processed to retain its bran layers and takes 45 to 50 minutes to prepare. Cooked grains are slightly chewy with a subtle sweet spiciness.

Brown long-grain rice - this rice retains the natural bran layer which is rich in many vitamins and minerals, including rice bran oil. This long-grain rice is firm in texture, with a slightly nutty flavor.

White long-grain rice - long-grain rice is the separating grain which is delicious in the many international dishes of Asia, India and Spain.

White medium-grain rice - better know as Risotto or Arborio rice This is the softer cooking medium-grain rice which has the advantage of being able to carry flavors and colours well. Its soft, creamy texture makes it ideal for desserts such as creamy rice pudding. It absorbs as much as five times its weight in liquid.

Arborio rice - a type of short-grain rice traditionally grown in Italy and used to make risotto. The high starch content of Arborio rice gives risotto its characteristic creamy texture.

Easy-cook long-grain white or brown rice - sometimes called parboiled or pre-fluffed rice. It is steamed under pressure before milling which hardens the grain, reducing the possibility of over-cooking. This process also helps to retain much of the natural vitamin and mineral content.

Jasmine or Thai fragrant rice - this long-grain white rice has a delicate Jasmine fragrance. A long-grain variety popular in Thailand and appreciated for its sweet aroma and nutty flavor. It is used as a cheap substitute for Basmati rice.

Kalijira rice - this tiny aromatic rice is grown in Bangladesh, cooks fast and is especially used in rice puddings.

Basmati - a variety of long grain rice. It is an aromatic, fragrant and slender, and is a non-glutinous rice. When cooked it swells only lengthwise, resulting in long slender grains that are very dry, light and separate not sticky. Pakistan and India are the largest cultivators and exporters of rice; it is primarily grown through paddy field farming in the Punjab region. The grains of Basmati are longer than most other types of rice. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky. As with most long grain rice, cooked Basmati rice can be uniquely identified by its fragrance. Basmati rice is available as either white or brown. The approved varieties of basmati rice are

  • Basmati 370
  • Basmati 386 (India)
  • Type-3 (Dehradun India)
  • Taraori Basmati (HBC-19 India)
  • Basmati 217 (India)
  • Ranbir Basmati (India)
  • Kernel (Basmati Pakistan)
  • Pusa Basmati
  • Super Basmati

Wild rice - is a tall aquatic grass of North America with a grain which is two or more times the length of the long grain rice varieties of Asia (Oryza). The name wild rice is misleading because it actually the seed of a type of wild grass (zinania aquatica) which grows in the shallow lake area of North America. Its long slender seeds are dark brown which turn purple when cooked. Despite of its name it is not related to domesticated rice (oryza).

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