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Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management
Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management

Can reheating rice cause food poisoning?

  • Can rice cause food poisoning?
  • What are the dangers?
  • How can risks be minimised?

 Can rice cause food poisoning?

Yes, you can get food poisoning from eating reheated rice.

It's not the reheating that however, that usually causes the problem,

but the way rice is cooled & stored before it is reheated.

What are the dangers?

Uncooked rice may contain spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. These spores can survive when rice is cooked, even at normal cooking temperatures

If rice is not cooled quickly (within 90 minutes before being refrigerated) and/or left standing at room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poison produced by bacteria) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea.

The longer cooked rice is cooled down and/or left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria or toxins could make the rice unsafe to eat.

If you eat rice that contains Bacillus cereus bacteria, you may be sick and experience vomiting or diarrhoea for around one to five hours afterwards. Symptoms are usually relatively mild and usually last about 24 hours

How to minimise the risk of serving unsafe rice

  • ideally, serve rice as soon as it has been cooked
  • if that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one and a half hours before refrigerating)
  • keep rice in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating & label clearly to ensure the time limit is adhered to
  • Ensure refrigeration is working properly (no more than 5°C)
  • when you reheat any rice, always check the dish is steaming hot all the way through
  • do not reheat rice more than once
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