TIL: Why leftover rice could give you food poisoning

Illustration for article titled TIL: Why leftover rice could give you food poisoning
Photo: aopsan (iStock)
Today I LearnedToday I LearnedToday I Learned is a feature where The Takeout writers share something they learned today.

For someone who writes frequently about grocery recalls and food poisonings, I am pretty lax when it comes to leftovers. If we have neglected a pot of food on the stove after dinner, I may eagerly dive in in the morning for my first breakfast. But today I learned that if that leftover dish includes rice, I am putting myself in even greater danger for food poisoning, because of a rice-specific bacteria strain.


According to KHON2 in Honolulu, U.K. agency “the National Health Service says eating ‘leftover’ rice can give you food poisoning… because uncooked rice often contain spores of Bacillus cereus—a bacteria strand that can cause food poisoning.” That strain can even survive after the rice is cooked, so “The longer you leave out that heated rice at room temperature, the bacteria multiplies, and can produce toxins that make you sick.”

Good to know! The experts stress that you should put that rice in the fridge within an hour to help keep the bacteria from multiplying, and also reheat it or toss it within 24 hours regardless. Also, this wasn’t part of the article, but I should clean my kitchen completely before going to bed at night, I know.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



Wait so toss all leftover rice after 24 hours, no matter how soon you put it in the fridge? That seems a bit overboard