[Food] Rice Can Give You Food Poisoning

I didn’t know that rice could give you food poisoning until I was 20 years old and wound up at Student Health badly dehydrated. I had been boiling up a big batch of rice once a week in the rice cooker and then leaving it on the counter.

Yeah. I stopped doing that.

According to here, the offending bacteria is bacillus cereus, and it can survive being boiled and being reheated. Let me repeat this: even if you cook the rice again, you can still get sick. The problem isn’t the bacteria itself, but its toxic byproducts (read: bacteria poop) that occur when it has a nice, warm, moist home to grow in. And when it grows up, it has babies, who poop too, and then they have poopy babies, and on and on…

The key to keeping the bacteria from pooping all over your rice is to get it cooled down quickly, and to store the cooked rice at less than 46F (8C) as recommended here. That page also suggests you get the rice into the fridge within 90 minutes of cooking.

If you’re like me and you port your rice to work with you for lunch, be sure that you get it into the work fridge as soon as possible. I had to toss a container of lovely fried chicken and rice last week because I got to work and jumped right in to a bunch of crises and didn’t realise until four hours later that I hadn’t put my lunch in the fridge. I hate wasting food, but I wasn’t going to risk it.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to [Food] Rice Can Give You Food Poisoning

  1. honeybones says:

    Food left out on the counter for a week! I would think most foods left on the counter for that long would give you food poisoning chicka.
    Unless its fruit, fruit is okay. Or tomatoes.
    I threw out rice today that had sat on the counter for less than a week and contained what looked like five strains of mold.

  2. samantha m says:

    I found out the rice factor the hard way as I ate a big bowl of left over rice that had been on the stove for a few hours before going in the fridge. I took it out and heated it in the microwave before work. An hour and 1/2 later between the 8 times in an hour that I threw up and the extreme pain in my stomache I knew something was wrong. Boy I don’t think I will eat rice for a while… I woulda never have known..

Comments are closed.