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

When can reheating rice cause food poisoning?

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

Can reheating rice cause food poisoning?

Yes, you can get food poisoning from eating reheated rice, even if it is really hot.

The source of any issues, however have usually happened before the reheating takes place & cooling & storaage can cause problems.

 

What are the dangers?

Spores of the pathogen Bacillus Cereus can be present in uncooked rice. This is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning & can survive when rice is cooked, even at normal cooking temperatures

Cooked rice must be cooled quickly (within 90 minutes, before being refrigerated) and must not be left standing at room temperature, when the spores can grow into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply at room temperatures and may produce toxins (poison produced by bacteria) that cause food poisoning. It is extremely important that the cooling process is kept as short as possible to reduce the likelihood of toxin formation. NHS guidelines are for example to cool cooked rice within an hour, before refrigerating.

Bacillus Cereus is a food poisoning pathogen and consuming it may produce symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea for around one to five hours afterwards, and the symptoms may last about 24 hours.

 

How to minimise the risk of serving unsafe rice

  • if at all possible serve rice as soon as it has been cooked and is still hot
  • if rice is to be held hot until served it must be kept above 63°C
  • if rice is to be cooled for later, cool the rice as quickly as possible using cold water, spreading thinly on a tray or another method, within one and a half hours to under 20°C before refrigerating
  • keep rice in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating & label clearly & cover
  • ensure refrigerator is working properly (no more than 5°C)
  • when reheating rice, always check the dish is steaming hot all the way through
  • do not reheat rice more than once or reuse container without washing first
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