Is it dangerous to reheat rice? FSAI shares official advice

Rice is a staple of our diets, whether it’s preparing dinner at home or ordering a takeaway at the weekend.

While the food is nutritious, tasty and versatile it can also be dangerous and cause food poisoning if not handled correctly.

Reheated rice can cause a host of health issues – and but it’s not necessarily the method that is the problem, it is the way the rice has been handled and stored before reheating.

Read more: You have been BBQ’ing all wrong – two common mistakes we all make

Uncooked rice can contain spores of a bacterium called bacillus cereus. This can survive being cooked and result in food poisoning, which is why you need to be cautious and vigilant.

So, is it actually dangerous to reheat rice? The Food Safety Authority of Ireland says no it is not, but you need to be careful.

Leftover rice should be cooled down quickly and stored in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours until reheating, as per FSAI official advice.

The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the higher chance there is of bacteria and toxins making it unsafe to eat, so make sure if you plan on reheating leftovers to put it in the fridge as soon as you possibly can.

If the rice is from a takeaway, you need to be extra careful. Check how it’s been handled if you plan to eat some the following day, but in the interest of health you should eat it immediately on arrival because it is likely that it has been pre-cooked and reheated once already.

A bowl of rice
A bowl of rice

When it comes to reheating other foods, the FSAI recommends using leftovers up within 2-3 days, provided they are kept in the fridge between 0-5C during this time and only reheating once.

Food can be reheated as long as it heats up to 70C or higher, and all leftovers should be piping hot and steaming before it is served.

Popular foods for reheating include stews and casseroles, and the authority advises allowing the liquid to boil for up to 5 minutes to make sure the pieces of meat are fully heated through.

Finally, if reheating food it should be served straight away. The longer it’s left, the bigger the chance of harmful bacteria growing as the temperature drops.

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