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Rice Food Poisoning Prevention

Reheating rice may cause food poisoning? How true it is?
(September 20, 2011)

Reheating rice might cause food poisoning only if the rice has not been stored properly before it was cooked. The grains of uncooked rice tend to have bacteria which can cause food poisoning. Once the rice is cooked and is not going to be eaten on the same day, it is best to refrigerate the cooked rice, as soon as possible. The way to prevent any form of food poisoning is to avoid keeping cooked rice at room temperature for too long. Preparations with rice like rice salads and other dishes should also be refrigerated once prepared, till it is serving time.

Avoid reheating the rice more than once or eating rice that is really old. You should also take additional precaution when you order rice from restaurants as you would not be able to pinpoint how it has been stored. Of course, preparing smaller quantities of rice can also get rid of this problem.
Submitted by N on September 20, 2011 at 12:01


Is reheating rice dangerous?

That’s right, reheating rice can give you food poisoning. However, it is not really reheating rice that causes the problem, but the way that you might have stored the rice. Uncooked rice may contain bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning. These spores (Bacillus cereus) sometimes survive when the rice is cooked. If you leave this rice at room temperature, there are chances of these spores multiplying and producing toxins. These toxins are responsible for causing diarrhea and vomiting. By reheating this rice, you will not be able to rid it of the toxins. The longer you leave the rice at room temperature, the higher the chances of the spores multiplying and producing toxins.    

It’s very important that you are cautious with leftover rice. It is best that you put the rice in the fridge quickly and not allow it to sit outside at room temperature for an hour or two. Eat this rice the next day or discard it. Avoid eating leftover rice from a restaurant as many restaurants may not be following the recommended procedures to handle the rice.

Reheating rice has its dangers, and it is best to serve rice when just cooked. If that’s not possible, once the rice is cooked keep it in the fridge for only a day before reheating.
Submitted by N on July 17, 2011 at 02:10


How to reheat day old steamed rice?

Here are some ways to reheat day-old steamed rice:
  • If it is a single serving, all you need to do is sprinkle it with water and stick it in the microwave for a minute or two.
  • Another way to reheat day cooked rice is by using a double boiler (the top pot comes with holes very similar to a colander). Put some water in the bottom portion of the cooker (11/2 inch). Put the rice in the top half and cover. Next boil the water and stir the rice occasionally, checking it every few minutes.
  • If you do not have a double boiler, don’t worry. Here’s another way you can reheat the rice: Place it in a container and cover with boiling water for a few minutes. Use a fork to separate the rice and then drain it. This is a good way to re-hydrate the rice and it tastes fresh as well.
Yet another way to heat the rice is by putting it in a microwave safe plate. Next break it with the help of a fork. Take a paper towel and dampen it in the centre with a little water. Place this towel on the rice and place the plate in the microwave.
Submitted by N on July 12, 2011 at 02:08


What is the best way to reheat cooked rice?

Here’s the best way to reheat cooked rice. By reheating it in this way the rice not only gets re-hydrated but also tastes fresh. Add boiling water to the rice and cover for a couple of minutes. Then with the help of a fork separate the rice before draining it in a colander. If you are wondering how to reheat steamed rice in a microwave, it’s quite simple. For a single serving sprinkle some water on it and stick it in your microwave for a couple of minutes. In the alternative, you could place the rice in a microwave safe plate after breaking the rice with a fork. Cover this rice with a paper towel that you have dampened in the centre with some water. Place this in the microwave for a couple of minutes for hot steaming rice.     

You could also use a double boiler to reheat cooked rice. Place some water in the bottom part of your boiler and put the rice in the top half (which has holes very similar to a colander). Boil the water for some time and use a fork to stir the rice. Make sure you check it occasionally to see if it is done.
Submitted by N on July 6, 2011 at 02:07


Yes eating reheated rice could cause food poisoning, but the real problem is not caused by reheating, but by the way it is stored before you reheat it. A bacterium called Bacillus cereus is naturally contained in rice. This causes problems such as diarrhea and vomiting when it accumulates in large amounts. When rice is in an uncooked condition, it contains spores of this bacterium. These spores continue to survive even when this food is cooked. These spores germinate and become bacteria when you leave the rice at room temperature for a long time. Thus, how safe your rice is will depend on how the rice is handled by you once it is cooked.

If your rice is kept at a temperature that ranges from 4°C to 60°C then it is at risk. This is considered to be the ideal temperature for the Bacillus cereus spores to multiply and grow. Thus, the chances of you falling ill from eating this rice would be high. As you can see, the problem does not lie with the way your rice is reheated, but it lies in the way you store it prior to reheating it. The best thing to do if you have rice left over would be to put this rice directly into the fridge. This will allow the rice to cool down as soon as possible. If you have used rice in salads, the best thing to do would be to keep it refrigerated till you actually sit down for your meal.

Rice leftover from a takeaway meal can be more prone to the problem of Bacillus cereus. There can be a delay right from the time the meal is prepared to the time it is delivered to you. There could be a further delay before you eat it. By the time you are ready to store the leftovers the Bacillus cereus will happily multiply. The best thing to do is to throw away any leftovers once you are done with the meal.
If you do need to use rice that is left over, make sure you do not keep it for more than one day before you need to use it again. It is important to be aware of the fact that many of the foods that we consume contain bacteria. This is not something that is unnatural. We need to ensure that this food is cooked and handled in the correct way. This will ensure that the bacteria are killed off.
Submitted by E L on May 25, 2010 at 06:47


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