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Why it's so common to get food poisoning from leftover rice

May 28, 2021 16:29 IST | By Vishakha Somani

Rice is a uniquely common diet staple in several countries and cuisines. While some dishes call for eating piping hot rice, there are some constructed around cold rice as well. But if you don’t eat rice correctly, it can also be a common culprit behind food poisoning troubles. Let's see why. 

A dormant spore of the bacteria Bacillus cereus is often present in rice. The spores reach rice through the paddy field and can cause food poisoning. As cooking cannot kill this bacterium, when we allow cooked rice to sit at room temperature, the warm and moist conditions create the ideal atmosphere for the activation of the toxic bacteria. 

According to NHS UK, the longer you leave cooked rice at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria or toxins could make the rice unsafe to eat. To prevent this, you should serve and eat rice as soon as it is cooked. If you do need to store the leftovers for later, cool them as quickly as possible and transfer them straight to the fridge.

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