The Risks of Eating Reheated Rice

Interesting tip from Kristie Leong MD over at Yahoo

Why You Shouldn’t Reheat Rice

No one likes to waste food which is why so many people bring home their leftover rice to eat the following day. Few Chinese food lovers think of rice as being a food likely to cause foodborne illness, but it is, especially if it’s improperly handled.

Raw rice may contain spores of bacteria called Bacillus cereus. These spores form to protect the bacteria from heat and other outside influences, and they aren’t easily destroyed – even by cooking. Even though Bacillus cereus spores aren’t readily eliminated by cooking, eating rice is unlikely to cause food poisoning if the rice is kept hot before serving – and not allowed to set around on a counter at room temperature. If this happens, the spores can germinate into active bacteria. For this reason, rice should always be served immediately after it’s prepared.

Does Reheating Rice to a High Temperature Kill the Bacteria?

Bacillus cereus spores aren’t easily destroyed by heat, so even if you reheat rice to a high temperature, you won’t necessarily kill them – and the heat can actually activate them so they’re able to cause food poisoning. The only way to avoid this problem is to cook rice thoroughly and cool it very quickly before storing it in the refrigerator – without letting it cool down to room temperature slowly. If it’s done properly, it’s safe to reheat rice no more than one time, but make sure it’s heated thoroughl


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