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Leftover rice and safety

Posted by IngridO 
Leftover rice and safety
March 15, 2018 06:10PM
I always keep and use rice the next day, making sure I cook it really hot. In my uni days I never worried about eating Chinese takeaways (rice dishes) the next day. Always ate them cold, warm or hot.

I have never ever been sick from rice. Do others use cooked rice as leftovers or do you throw it out?
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 15, 2018 06:44PM
Ever since I read about the dangers associated with keeping rice I've always thrown it out. It's not the temperature you cook it to, as the dangerous spores can survive that - it's letting it stand at room temperature. If you get it into the fridge within an hour and only reheat it once you're OK, but my feeling is rice is cheap and tastes better freshly cooked anyway.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 15, 2018 06:49PM
I know that rice is vulnerable to Bacillus cereus, a toxin that grows at room temperature and is not killed by heating. This is the reason that we are always advised to cool cooked rice as quickly as possible and not to keep it longer than a day. However, although I always cool then refrigerate cooked rice as quickly as possible I sometimes keep it in the fridge for several days and we have never had any ill effects attributable to this.

Cooked rice bought from takeaway outlets is a different story as you have no way of knowing how long it has been sitting around at room temperature, and I believe that most of the horror stories about poisoning from leftover rice relate to takeaways and restaurant rice. I would never keep rice that I hadn't cooked and cooled myself.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 15, 2018 10:55PM
I usually cool leftover rice quickly and then pop it in the freezer, then it's all ready for making a quick fried rice or similar.

Recently I was looking after a woman from ?Thailand, and her family was bringing her meals in to her rather than eat our hospital food. On entering her room I noticed a big bowl of rice on the bench, and offered to put it in the fridge, she declined, and explained that they never refrigerate the rice where she was from, it just sat on the bench until it was used. She reported that she'd never been sick from it, and neither had her family.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 15, 2018 11:49PM
When we were in Laos the rice (unpolished sticky rice) was cooked in the morning then left sitting around all day. It was served in little woven bamboo containers which weren't washed but reused. The rice was delicious but I got sick.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 16, 2018 12:11AM
I was on a boat trip in Cambodia on a particularly hot day. Our lunch was picked up early in the morning and then served at lunchtime. Nothing had been refrigerated. I didn't eat my rice as was so worried, everyone else happily ate it - no one got sick.
I do think we can over worry on these things although I do not ever want to have food poisoning again. smiling smiley
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 17, 2018 06:18PM
Living alone, I always cook a large batch (3 cups) of rice, use what I want for that meal and then freeze the rest for future use. I also regularly buy nasi goreng from our local takeaway, but as they cook it in front of me, I know it's been cooked well so have no hesitation if putting any leftover into the fridge for the next day. I've never got sick from eating rice, anywhere!
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 17, 2018 09:09PM
As another lone nester I do as Lorna does - purposely cook more rice than needed for a meal; occasionally keeping one extra serving in the fridge to use the next day and freeze the rest. I've done this for many years and have obviously lived to tell the tale.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 19, 2018 04:40PM
I have often wondered about this with sushi, there are many many little sushi places on the Northshore in Auckland and they never seem to refrigerate the rice or the finished product, however, I notice when I have been there later in the day - I sometimes got my son some after high school finished so around 4.00 they would give you 2 for the price of one, obviously they don't keep it overnight which is reassuring. On the other hand you can buy ready made sushi in the supermarket and it is refrigerated with several days best before.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 20, 2018 01:34AM
I've eaten Chinese fermented rice years and years ago and not come a cropper. Don't want to ever eat it again even if it does taste like Sake, which I rather like. It had Goji berries added which for extra health benefits. I was seeing a Chinese practitioner at the time and she insisted I eat this for breakfast every morning.She made it herself and kept it in a big tub in her fridge.

Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 20, 2018 03:39AM
I always reheat and use leftover rice. I often microwave it first to get it nice and hot BUT I do remember an article saying that rice was one of the biggest carriers of dodgy bacteria and food poisoning. Thankfully Ive never been affected.

What happens in India and Asia and hotter and poorer countries with less refrigeration/power?

Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 20, 2018 04:36PM
Sushi is eaten cold and cold rice that has been refrigerated is hard and horrible, hence it's not in the fridge when on sale and why it's not kept till the next day. However, rice kept in the fridge overnight must be properly reheated and is just like fresh rice.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 20, 2018 05:58PM
I used to think if rice was reheated until hot it was fine too Lorna but I think TPANDAV is correct in that there is a particular bacteria in rice which is NOT killed but heating. Yikes!
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 21, 2018 05:08PM
I've been eating reheated rice all my life and I've never been sick from it. However, I'm only 72 so there's plenty of time yet to prove the theory right. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 21, 2018 05:38PM
I tend to think of the salads we have on a hot summer days for lunch or dinner which contain rice. At Christmas time they are left out on the table for the duration of food being eaten (which can take quite a while on special occasions), they are put back into the fridge and come out again to be eaten the next day and so on. I guess the rice is cooled asap when initially cooked but it certainly isn't reheated before being eaten again the next day. Does the above apply? I have never been ill from eating rice which I've eaten cold the next day nor reheated rice I've eaten the day after.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 21, 2018 07:03PM
It is not the reheating of rice that is the issue, it is the growth of the spores during the cooling down process. Reheating doesn't kill the spores.

As for sushi and salads, the acid in the vinegar which is part of the dressing retards spoilage but does not eliminate it entirely.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 27, 2018 08:46PM
Working in the Food industry for bulk manufacture of ready to eat food - We hold rice between 1 - 4 degrees for only 1 day. This is also backed up with micro data. Bacillus Cereus is the main form of concern, how ever this is a spore and if heated above 120 degrees Celsius the spores will burst. At elevated temperatures the growth of this bacteria can produce very very quickly. Using a acid or vinegar does retard the spoilage standard APC, Yeast and Mould how ever when it comes to Bacillus or spore forming bacteria this will not work at all. Below is some reading for those interested.


Re: Leftover rice and safety
March 28, 2018 09:05AM
Thanks Gaz.
Re: Leftover rice and safety
April 02, 2018 10:20PM
I happily keep leftover rice in the fridge or freezer and reheat it. However, I cool it down very quickly after initial cooking by spreading it out on a large dish and getting it in the fridge. I won't eat leftover rice if I know it hasn't been stored in the fridge.

I'll happily eat leftover rice dishes from takeaways. I guess it's a matter of 'ignorance is bliss'. I wonder if people in Asian countries have developed a resistance to cereus bacillus because they've been exposed to it more frequently so their bodies already have antibodies against it.
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