Here's Why Cooked Rice Can Outbreak Food Poisoning

Rice is eaten by most people in the world and has been a staple food for centuries. However, many people are still unclear on the proper method to prepare and cook rice. It is also unknown to most people how long rice can be left out or if it should be reheated for future meals.

You have probably never heard of rice going bad, but it does happen. It is important to note because people mistakenly attribute sickness caused by bad rice to other ingredients present in rice dishes.

The study, "The survival and growth of Bacillus cereus in boiled and fried rice in relation to outbreaks of food poisoning", by  R. J. GilbertM. F. Stringer, and T. C. Peace, examines the connection between the numerous outbreaks of food poisoning and cooked and fried rice usually from Chinese restaurants and `take-away' shops.

When rice is prepared incorrectly, food poisoning can result. You can also contract a condition known as 'fried rice syndrome.'

A Texas woman learned this the hard way recently when she was forced into intensive care for eight days after consuming fried rice at a local Chinese restaurant. A bacteria known Bacillus cereus begins to form on fried rice dishes that are kept at room temperature too long. This bacteria will make healthy people ill and can be lethal to individuals with compromised immune systems.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), United Kingdom, here are a few tips to assure you or your family do not get sick from eating rice:

  • Do not reheat rice more than once.
  • If eating rice that has been reheated, make sure it is heated until steaming hot.
  • Do not keep ice in a refrigerator for more than one day.
  • Allow rice to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.

Everyone loves leftovers. Especially the family cook who can take a day off from cooking duties. However, you have to be careful when reheating rice. 

Cathy Moir, food microbiologist with Food Science Australia and an expert with ABC Health & Wellbeing, explains that it is not the process of reheating the rice that causes the problem but is actually the way the rice is stored. Bacteria that cause illness can be present in rice that has been left to stand at room temperature for long periods of time.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), United Kingdom, uncooked rice has spores for Bacillus cereus. The spores sometimes survive even after the rice is cooked. The longer the rice is left out it becomes more likely to cause illness. People that eat tainted rice usually begin showing symptoms of the bacteria a few hours after it is consumed.

Symptoms generally last for a day but can linger in people with weak immune systems.

Have you ever become sick after eating rice? Do you or someone in your family violate the food safety principles regarding rice? Send this article to every friend you have. They will thank you for the information.

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation by your doctor. Your health is important to us!