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View Full Version : Rice as a Source of Food Poisoning


FryBoy
06-03-2009, 02:35 PM
I posted this in another thread, but I thought that it's important enough to have it's own thread so more people will read it, especially since 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. This information from the British Food Standards Agency (http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/asksam/keepingfoodsafe/asksamcooking/#A220063):

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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Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 04:09 PM
:shock:

You'll never guess what I just threw out...

Fisher's Mom
06-03-2009, 04:13 PM
This is really good information, Doug! I had no idea rice could grow bacteria so quickly. I will be much more careful now. Thanks.:thumb:

Kei
06-03-2009, 04:42 PM
I've reheated rice more than a day old many times. Haven't been sick yet.

FryBoy
06-03-2009, 04:51 PM
You're not paying attention, Kei. Read it again -- carefully. Reheating isn't the problem, it's how the cooked rice was stored before reheating.

Rice can contain a particular type of bacteria, Bacillus cereus.

Unlike most bacteria, that strain is NOT always killed when the rice is cooked.

If the bacteria do survive cooking, and if the rice is left at room temperature for a significant time (I imagine an hour or more), it will grow.

If the bacteria grow in the luke-warm or cool rice, it will produce toxins -- essentially the bacteria's waste -- which is poisonous and can make you and your family and friends very sick.

Once the toxins develop in the rice, reheating it won't it rid of the poison.

Five out of every six people who play Russian Roulette survive.

Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 04:52 PM
Kei,
I have a compromised immune system, I just can't take chances anymore. Before I wouldn't have given it a second thought, LOL. "Re-heat & Eat" was my motto, I guess it my idea of living dangerously!

chowhound
06-03-2009, 07:35 PM
I think Kei was reading it correctly, Doug, because that's exactly how I interpreted this statement: "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."

According to that statement, even when cooled and stored properly you are not supposed to keep it for more than a day before using.

Thanks for the heads up. I will certainly be more careful about refrigerating any potential leftovers right away, but as far as chucking it after one day... I don't know if I buy into that train of thought.

Love2"Q"
06-03-2009, 07:45 PM
You're not paying attention, Kei. Read it again -- carefully. Reheating isn't the problem, it's how the cooked rice was stored before reheating.

Rice can contain a particular type of bacteria, Bacillus cereus.


Five out of every six people who play Russian Roulette survive.


little harsh .... eh ....

FryBoy
06-03-2009, 08:02 PM
little harsh .... eh ....
I don't think so. I find the "it's never happened to me" line of argument to be naive. Unfortunately, many people use it to justify all sorts of reckless behavior, such as drinking and driving, driving and texting, and exposing their families to dangerous foods.

Love2"Q"
06-03-2009, 08:09 PM
that cause vomiting or diarrhoea


not exactly the same thing as drunk driving ...

Kei
06-03-2009, 08:24 PM
You're not paying attention, Kei. Read it again -- carefully. Reheating isn't the problem, it's how the cooked rice was stored before reheating.

Rice can contain a particular type of bacteria, Bacillus cereus.

Unlike most bacteria, that strain is NOT always killed when the rice is cooked.

If the bacteria do survive cooking, and if the rice is left at room temperature for a significant time (I imagine an hour or more), it will grow.

If the bacteria grow in the luke-warm or cool rice, it will produce toxins -- essentially the bacteria's waste -- which is poisonous and can make you and your family and friends very sick.

Once the toxins develop in the rice, reheating it won't it rid of the poison.

Five out of every six people who play Russian Roulette survive.
Um I did read it. I've had rice sit at room temp, chilled whatever. I've eaten rice almost every day of my life and had it in many conditions and never been poisoned by it. I've done this many times so don't get mad because I'm not running in a panic over this like you are.

FryBoy
06-03-2009, 08:33 PM
...I've had rice sit at room temp, chilled whatever. I've eaten rice almost every day of my life and had it in many conditions and never been poisoned by it....Well, I'm convinced! The science is all wrong. No need to be careful, because there's this guy who has dodged every bullet!

Love2"Q"
06-03-2009, 08:37 PM
Well, I'm convinced! The science is all wrong. No need to be careful, because there's this guy who has dodged every bullet!


not really sure how the sarcasm is going to help you prove your
point ..

Kei
06-03-2009, 08:40 PM
Well, I'm convinced! The science is all wrong. No need to be careful, because there's this guy who has dodged every bullet!
Sorry but I'm not going to live my life hiding under the bed in a bubble because some guy on the internet is panicked out of his mind after reading a random article on rice. lol
My advice to you is to never travel to Hong Kong or anywhere outside of your little panic room. You'll probably wet yourself after you see how the food is handled and stored there.

Now go change your shorts.

Fisher's Mom
06-03-2009, 08:46 PM
Maybe because eating is such a personal thing, we are taking this a little too personally. Offering information is always welcome, but no one is required to take it. For some people like Mav, who has special health concerns, it might save him from a very serious illness. For the rest of us, it might save us from vomiting and/or diarrhea sometime. In any event, let's try to keep things cool and take any further disagreements to PM.:smile:

Kei
06-03-2009, 09:02 PM
Maybe because eating is such a personal thing, we are taking this a little too personally. Offering information is always welcome, but no one is required to take it. For some people like Mav, who has special health concerns, it might save him from a very serious illness. For the rest of us, it might save us from vomiting and/or diarrhea sometime. In any event, let's try to keep things cool and take any further disagreements to PM.:smile:
Nothing wrong with putting out a health alert on possible food poisoning but there is no need for a poster to get all pissy because somebody isn't as worried about as he is. :neutral:

FryBoy
06-03-2009, 10:04 PM
Sorry but I'm not going to live my life hiding under the bed in a bubble because some guy on the internet is panicked out of his mind after reading a random article on rice. lol
My advice to you is to never travel to Hong Kong or anywhere outside of your little panic room. You'll probably wet yourself after you see how the food is handled and stored there.

Now go change your shorts.
I'm hardly panicked; I'm merely passing on information that few are aware of. I certainly wasn't.

Every parent sooner or later comes to appreciate the old saying that you can warn a wise man about fire, but a fool has to get burned.

Enjoy your ignorance, and may you continue to be lucky.

Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 10:34 PM
I was actually concentrating on the part about how long it sat out before putting it away. Based on this, I let mine stand out too long before putting it away, I am very lazy in that aspect. Hence the trip to the garbage can for the leftover rice. It was three days old, but that is not what concerned me. It was the amount of time I had left it out on the counter before packing it away, several hours.
I am certainly not panicked about any of this, but I appreciate the information provided and it gives me something to think about and consider in the future. I may even change the way I clean up after meals, putting food away first and right away then cleaning up the dishes and what not.
I too have never gotten sick from leftover rice, or even leftover meats and dishes that I was too slow to put away after the meal, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have happened or that it won't ever happen in the future.
Odds are sometime in our lives we are going to get food poisoning. So while odds are not a guarantee I see nothing wrong with increasing the odds in my favor either.

lilylove
06-03-2009, 10:40 PM
I think that tummies get used to food. The Mexicans in Mexico don't get sick everytime they drink the water.. either do I but some folks do.

let's keep this friendly guys and gals.

Wasabi
06-03-2009, 10:44 PM
Kei said I've eaten rice almost every day of my life and had it in many conditions and never been poisoned by it.

We eat rice for 2 sometimes 3 meals every day and so does 99% of Hawaii. I have never heard of any one getting rice poisoning. :confused:

Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 10:47 PM
Kei said

We eat rice for 2 sometimes 3 meals every day and so does 99% of Hawaii. I have never heard of any one getting rice poisoning. :confused:

It's countered by all that Spam ya'll eat over there!:yum:

lilylove
06-03-2009, 10:48 PM
lol Mav!

Wasabi
06-03-2009, 10:50 PM
It's countered by all that Spam ya'll eat over there!:yum:

Yep, if the spam can't kill us, spoiled rice is a walk in the park.:yum:

Kei
06-03-2009, 11:03 PM
I'm suddenly hungry for some of these...

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/3134/118035317465aba35a9cmme.jpg

:biggrin:

Fisher's Mom
06-03-2009, 11:06 PM
What are those, Kei? It looks like Spam on the top and is that seaweed wrapped around it?

Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 11:07 PM
OMG they made sushi outta Spam!! You got it FM!

Wasabi
06-03-2009, 11:09 PM
Kei, I like my spam musubi with furikake in the rice.

Fisher's Mom
06-03-2009, 11:11 PM
Kei, I like my spam musubi with furikake in the rice.Y'all are making me Google.

buzzard767
06-03-2009, 11:14 PM
I'm suddenly hungry for some of these...

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/3134/118035317465aba35a9cmme.jpg

:biggrin:

Makes me hungry - think I'll have some of these.... :yum:

http://comps.fotosearch.com/comp/CSP/CSP017/shoes_~k0173606.jpg

Kei
06-03-2009, 11:14 PM
Kei, I like my spam musubi with furikake in the rice.
I haven't tried it with the furikake sprinkled on it. I usually just dip it in soy and eat away. :)

Kei
06-03-2009, 11:15 PM
What are those, Kei? It looks like Spam on the top and is that seaweed wrapped around it?
It's musubi. You have rice sandwiched in spam slices and wrapped with nori (dried seaweed). Yummy stuff. :)

Makes me hungry - think I'll have some of these.... :yum:

http://comps.fotosearch.com/comp/CSP/CSP017/shoes_%7Ek0173606.jpg

Haha they do look like shoes in that pic. :)

Fisher's Mom
06-03-2009, 11:16 PM
Here's a wiki for the rest of us:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_musubi

Wasabi
06-03-2009, 11:23 PM
From a poem by Gaynor Borade

"One Man's Food Is Another Man's Poison", or so they say...
And, "All the world's a stage!", if add I dare and may;
There is no harm in playing your part 'right' through the day
And join hands even as the 'Poison' is thrown over the bay.

You may like spice, while I favor bland
You may prefer the sea, while I hover the land
You may desire company and I alone to stand
Lets revel in diversity and lend each other a hand.

Maverick2272
06-03-2009, 11:24 PM
I am afraid this thread has gotten 'spammed'...

lilylove
06-03-2009, 11:25 PM
spam sushi?? lol

FryBoy
06-06-2009, 11:33 AM
For those of you who scoff at the dangers of bacillus ceres, the bacterium that can cause food poisoning from improperly stored cooked rice, check this:

Asparagus Sauce Killed Diner: Coroner (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=417902)