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How to Reheat Leftover Rice to Prevent “Fried Rice Syndrome”

Rice is avoided!

Food experts share tips on how to properly store and reheat leftover rice: You can get sick if you don’t take the right precautions.

“Heating rice is generally not outright dangerous, but there are risks associated with improper handling,” Jen Messer, a nutrition consultant and registered dietitian at Jen Messer Nutrition, told USA Today this week.

Rice may contain spores of the common bacteria Bacillus cereus, which can release toxins that cause two types of foodborne illness: diarrhea and vomiting. Getty Images

Rice may contain spores of the common bacteria Bacillus cereus, which can release toxins that cause two types of foodborne illness: diarrhea and vomiting.

“(The bacteria) survives the initial cooking process as a spore and if (the rice is) left at room temperature it will produce toxins,” Emily Hovis, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, explained in March. “So even when you reheat (rice), you’re killing the vegetative cells, you’re not destroying the toxins.”

Some 63,400 cases of Bacillus cereus illness are reported each year in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The phenomenon is known as “fried rice syndrome,” although Bacillus cereus can also be found in pasta and potatoes.

Hovis said symptoms can appear within 6 to 12 hours. Although not life-threatening, serious infection is more likely in immunocompromised people.

Most patients recover within 24 hours – staying hydrated is essential.

Some 63,400 cases of Bacillus cereus illness are reported each year in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Shelley Rael, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told USA Today that bacterial growth comes from rice not being refrigerated quickly enough after it is cooked, or being stored for too long. in the refrigerator or not reheated properly.

To start, cook the rice at a high temperature – Bacillus cereus can multiply between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, also known as the “danger zone.”

Once finished, don’t leave the rice at room temperature for more than two hours – or more than an hour at warmer temperatures (like at a potluck).

Store it in a container that can be closed with a lid and put it in the refrigerator. But don’t keep it there for more than three to four days.

When reheating rice in the microwave, make sure the internal temperature of the rice reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Getty Images

If you plan to reheat the rice in the microwave, Messer suggests adding a little water or broth beforehand to keep it flavorful and fluffy.

The most important part is making sure the internal temperature of the rice reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a food thermometer to check.

Tips for Cooking Rice Safely

  • Hovis recommends cooking smaller quantities of rice in a rice cooker instead of one large quantity.
  • If you store rice in a rice cooker on the “keep warm” setting, use a thermometer to make sure it stays at least 150 degrees.
  • Don’t put a hot, covered pot of rice in the refrigerator – use several smaller containers instead.
  • Once the rice is in a container, place it directly in the refrigerator.
  • When in doubt, throw it away.

New York Post

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