Can reheating rice cause food poisoning? Doctor says to refrigerate it within an hour

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Can reheating rice cause food poisoning? Doctor says to refrigerate it in this time frame


Reheating rice is a popular choice, especially when people get a takeaway and have some leftover.

It’s well known it has the potential to cause food poisoning, so should it be avoided all together or is there a way around it?

Rice can be reheated but care should be taken to make sure it is stored properly before reheating.

It’s not the reheating that causes the problem, but the way the rice has been stored before it’s reheated, according to Fiona Hunter, a registered nutritionist and nutritionist for wellbeing brand Healthspan.

She explained: “Uncooked rice can contain spores of a bacteria called Bacillus cereus which can survive when rice is cooked and cause food poisoning.

“If rice is left standing at room temperature after it’s been cooked , the spores can grow into bacteria, which will multiply producing toxins that can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.”

The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria multiply, so Fiona said it’s vital you get cooked rice into the fridge as soon as possible, within an hour, if you’re planning to reheat it later.

She advised: “If you have a large quantity of rice left over it helps to divide it up into smaller portions so that it will cook quicker.

“Cooked rice should be kept in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours before using and should never be heated more than once.”

If you eat rice that contains Bacillus cereus bacteria you may be sick and experience vomiting or diarrhoea about one to five hours afterwards, states the NHS.

Symptoms are relatively mild and usually last about 24 hours.

The health body has tips on serving rice safely, including serving rice as soon as it has been cooked.

If that isn’t possible, the rice should be cooled as quickly as possible, ideally within one hour.

Rice should be kept in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.

When it comes to reheating rice you should aways check the dish is steaming hot all the way through.

Rice should not be reheated more than once.

Food poisoning symptoms include feeling sick, diarrhoea, being sick, stomach cramps, a high temperature of 38C or above, and feeling generally unwell, such as feeling tired or having aches and chills.

The symptoms usually start within a few days of eating the food that caused the infection.

Food poisoning can usually be treated at home and the symptoms usually pass within a week.

Make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids such as water and squash – take small sips if you feel sick, and eat when you feel able to. You don’t need to have or avoid any specific foods.

If you’re in discomfort you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Avoid fruit juice or fizzy drinks as these can make diarrhoea worse.

Tea towels may be associated with clean plates and dishes but research has now suggested they could be harbouring the bacteria that causes potentially dangerous food poisoning.



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