Why Reheated Rice Can Give You Food Poisoning

Why Reheated Rice Can Give You Food Poisoning
Picture: AaronLMGoodwin

If you think of food poisoning, chances are you think of seafood, raw eggs and raw meat. However, you can also be at risk if you reheat cooked rice or pasta.

A report on common causes of food poisoning by the BBC’s news magazine notes that carbohydrates can be much riskier than we realise once they have been cooked.

“Chicken, eggs and shellfish are classed as high risk, but so are rice, pasta, couscous — starchy foods that have high moisture content,” Dr Haruna Musa Moda of the Food Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University told the site. “It’s not that rice itself is dangerous but after it’s been cooked there are spores of bacteria that can germinate.”

If you are planning to reheat rice, cool it quickly by placing it in the fridge rather than letting it sit and steam. For more reheating advice, check out our guide to what to do with common leftovers.

Why are we more scared of raw egg than reheated rice? [BBC News Magazine]

This article has been updated since its original publication.


  • I just don’t eat food anymore
    No food means no food poisoning

    By the way, is it just me, or has food become dangerous over the past five years?
    Seems like more people getting food poisoning than usual, are the food safety regulators dropping the ball or have all food producers dropped the ball since the GFC?

  • I’ve been eating reheated rice ever since I could eat food. The leftover rice stays in the rice cooker for 24 hours, then gets reheated (either chucked back into the rice cooker with a new batch or a microwave). Never got food poisoning from it. Maybe because there are no spores in the rice cooker, so bacteria never gets a chance to get to the rice.

    • yep, this is exactly how it’s done in my house too. I’ve never gotten sick from it. even though I’m sure that this is legitimate, I think that for the most part, people are just paranoid.

  • It would be different for everyone.

    I can eat food that has been left out for days (common thing due to my ethnicity)
    But I know that if a friend of mine were to do that he or she would get sick.

    Same as when I go to a different country, I can eat most things with out getting sick where as others would.

    Guess it’s a bit like food conditioning lol

    • same here. i’ve been holidaying in some asian countries, and my mates always said never buy drinks from stalls with ice, or drink tap water. never affected me, but some of them have gotten sick because of it.

      i’ve never gotten sick from stale rice before, and other foods.

  • They got their moneys worth out of that rice cooker, the non stick coating on the inside is all gone. 😛

  • Food poisoning from having rice happened to me once. Luckily the only time I got food poisoning too. Chinese restaurant in bloody Spain, was sick for the best part of 2 weeks. Whatever you do, don’t have chinese food in Spain…

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