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Old 06-03-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Rice as a Source of Food Poisoning

The substantial danger of food poisoning from reheated rice -- or from rice that has been allowed to sit unheated for a significant time -- is not widely known. Here's some important information from the British Food Standards Agency:

I've heard that reheating rice can cause food poisoning. Is this true?

It's true that you could get food poisoning from eating reheated rice. But it's not actually the reheating that's the problem it's the way the rice has been stored before reheating.

Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins.

So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria, or the toxins they produce, could stop the rice being safe to eat.

It's best to serve rice when it has just been cooked. If that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.

Remember that when you reheat any food, you should always check that it's steaming hot all the way through, and avoid reheating more than once.

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Old 06-03-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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Rice has the same basic issues as other foods. You can't leave them out at room temperature and expect to be safe. Rice may be more dangerous because no one thinks rice is a 'dangerous' food.
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:54 PM   #3
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But it's not actually the reheating that's the problem – it's the way the rice has been stored before reheating.

I think that would apply to just about any food that is not refrigerated properly and in a timely manner.

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Old 06-03-2009, 03:16 PM   #4
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It's true that any food can become contaminated if left at room temperature too long. However, you guys are missing the IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE with rice as compared to most other foods. Read it again:

Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus.... When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. ...if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate into bacteria...and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins.

That's NOT true of most foods (i.e., most do NOT contain spores of Bacillus cereus), and that difference is what makes rice potentially more dangerous than most other foods. Moreover, most people appear to believe that dairy foods, meat, and the like, are all they have to worry about, that rice, veggies, etc., are safe no matter what you do with them, which is simply not the case.
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:29 PM   #5
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It is different because of the bacillus.

Believe me, I learned the hard way. Mishandled fried rice lead to uncontrollable diarhhea (sp) while participating in a charity golf tournament.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:00 PM   #6
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Didn't know that, good to know thanks.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:39 PM   #7
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Wow Scotch, didn't know that one.
I've never had a problem with it though. When I make rice for dinner, I always make extra so I can have fried rice later in the week.
Guess I've just been lucky, I sure don't want food poisoning
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:42 PM   #8
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Not washing hands is the leading cause of food poisoning, but when the cause is the food itself I remember reading somewhere (I do not recall where) that rice is the leading culprit by far out of any other food.
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL View Post
Wow Scotch, didn't know that one.
I've never had a problem with it though. When I make rice for dinner, I always make extra so I can have fried rice later in the week.
Guess I've just been lucky, I sure don't want food poisoning
I didn't know it either, and I don't believe I've ever gotten sick from reheated rice.

However, I'll bet that you -- like me and most other people on this forum -- are pretty good about cleanliness and proper storage of food.

Besides, just because you've dodged the bullets up to now doesn't mean you can walk across the field of fire with impunity. Forewarned is forearmed.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:44 AM   #10
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In the hot climate like India we eat rice within 3-4 hour after preparation.

We always keep excess cooked rice in refrigerator and we don't need to eat or reheat that refrigerated rice after 2 days because prepare rice everyday.

Generally in summer we pour water on cooked rice and keep it in room temperature and eat after 10-12 hours. The rice become slightly fermented
and taste different.

In tribal communities, they keep cooked rice with water for a week or more to prepare alcohol.
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