Leftover rice can cause food poisoning if it is stored incorrectly. Uncooked rice contains spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Sometimes, the spores of Bacillus cereus are able to survive cooking. When cooked rice is left out in room temperature for too long, spores can germinate and multiply bacteria, creating toxins that will make you sick.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says around 60,000 cases of Bacillus cereus get reported every year, but it’s really unclear how many are related to rice. While the food staple’s hidden toxins probably aren’t an imminent danger, but it’s good to be cautious.
Next time when you have a bowl of rice, remember this: Serve rice as soon as it’s cooked and refrigerate leftover within an hour. Only reheat once and throw rice out after a day passes. When it’s time to reheat, make sure the rice is hot all the way through.
It’s pretty easy to control how you reheat and eat rice at home, but should you worry about eating out or ordering in from outside? A food scientist from Rutgers University told Life Hacker that some restaurants cook a batch of rice, keep it at room temperature and serve it throughout the day. Not a great sign. If you’re really concerned about the chance of food poisoning, ask the waiter about how the kitchen prepares rice or better avoid it outside.
And and for the sushi lovers, don’t worry: the vinegar added to sushi rice lowers its pH, which makes it safe to be at room temperature.
Take care of these things and your digestive tract will thank you as better stomach health is the key for overall health.