In general, preparing meals in advance is a great way to save time and eat healthily throughout the week. But when it comes to leftovers, food safety is key. Grain-based foods can harbor dangerous bacteria, and you may be surprised to learn that one of the biggest causes of food poisoning is cooked rice.
Whether you're prepping a meal or have leftover rice from takeout, there's a small chance you'll get food poisoning (also known as “fried rice syndrome”) if you eat rice that's been sitting in the fridge for several days. there is. You may be able to avoid some stomach problems by throwing away rice after three days.
Here's why you should avoid preparing large portions of rice for the next week, and how to properly store and cook rice to avoid possible food poisoning.
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Why is there a risk of food poisoning from leftover rice?
All types of uncooked rice can contain Bacillus cereus spores, which can cause gastrointestinal illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhea. The spores are heat resistant and will not be killed by cooking. Once the rice cools and enters the food danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria begin to grow rapidly. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are approximately 63,400 cases of B. cereus food poisoning in the United States each year.
The greatest risk of food poisoning occurs when rice is left out for more than an hour. At this time, bacterial spores can multiply. There is no problem with bacteria even if you eat rice right away. Illness is more common if you eat rice that is left at room temperature for several hours, then refrigerated and eaten several days later. According to Food Network, if rice has been left at room temperature for two hours or at 90 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, it should be discarded.
What is the best way to store rice to prevent food poisoning?
To prevent food poisoning, leave leftover rice in the refrigerator immediately after cooking, and the UK's National Health Service recommends storing it for “ideally no more than an hour”, which limits the time to store leftover rice. Must be limited. In the refrigerator.
However, be careful not to put hot containers of food in the refrigerator. This is because the temperature of other foods will rise and bacteria can grow there as well. The Food Network recommends portioning large amounts of rice into small containers and letting them cool to room temperature (about 70 degrees).
The NHS recommends storing rice in the fridge for no more than a day before reheating, but the USDA's FoodKeeper app says cooked rice can be stored for four to six days. The Food Network says you can continue to reheat rice for three to four days after storage, but the NHS recommends against reheating it more than once.
What is the safest way to reheat leftover rice?
If you plan to reheat your rice, make sure it is steaming hot with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit when you remove it from the microwave or stove. And the next time you have a craving for rice, limit the amount you make to the amount you and your dinner companions plan to eat that day. This has the benefit of avoiding food poisoning and also helps prevent food waste.