A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Storing Cooked Rice Safely - Avoid Food Poisoning

It's true, you could get food poisoning from eating reheated rice. But it's not actually the reheating that's the problem – it's the way the rice has been stored before reheating.

Chilli Rice and Beans

Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate into bacteria.

These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea.

Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins. So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria, or the toxins they produce, could stop the rice being safe to eat. It's best to serve rice when it has just been cooked.

If that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.

You can, of course, freeze cooked rice, just be sure to follow the previously mentioned instructions of cooling it quickly.

Remember that when you reheat any food, you should always check that it's piping hot all the way through, and avoid reheating more than once.


  1. Interesting, I didn't know that. I try to be really careful with food safety!

  2. I learned something new...merci!

  3. I think I've frequently broken all those rules over the years I've made rice.

    I usually cook more than I need just so I have it handy for another meal, often several days later. The extra remains in the saucepan for many hours until I remember it and put it in the fridge.

    Then several days later and as long as it doesn't smell 'off', it gets nuked for another meal.

    Maybe my tum is immune but so far, I've not had any problems. I'll try to not tempt fate and do better in future, Jan.

  4. I've been eating rice all my life now and didn't know this at all! Very interesting

  5. This is one of the first things we learned in my chef's course. Think you've had a dodgy curry? Probably not, it was more than likely the rice has been re-heated and improperly, and or stored incorrectly to begin with!!

  6. A great post. I just read about this subject on another blog and, since I'd never heard of it, I wanted to check it out.

    Oddly, there is nothing about this in any US reference or at least I couldn't find anything. Not even through the USDA Food Safety site. But the UK and Australia both had warnings about rice safety! What's the deal with that?

    In any case, I'm considering myself warned!

  7. Ive been searching for why I'm throwing up tonight. This is it. I cooked rice a few days ago, put it in the fridge hours after cooling, then just ate it tonight. Violent vomitting and stomach cramps alongside abdominal swelling and cold chills. I have rice food poisoning. Never again!

  8. As someone who has grown up eating rice as a staple food I was upset to hear about rice food poisoning. My habit of sprinkling soya sauce on leftover rice for a quick snack has had to stop. However, my father, who is Chinese, taught us to rinse and rinse raw rice till the water runs clear (this takes quite a while). I try to save water so sometimes I've settled for semi-clear but think I'll just reuse the water on plants instead.

  9. Hi Anon - you don't have to stop eating and enjoying leftover rice - just store it properly before you re-heat it or eat it cold.

  10. I made too much rice last night, but I'd be too scared to store any of it for future use, I'm so wary of these things! You hear of people reheating their takeaways the morning after a night out as well!

  11. Here's a question I can't find the answer to anywhere on the Net. What if the rice is the parboiled variety? Parboiling rice after harvesting de-germinates it and removes all spores. SO, can parboiled rice have this affliction? It was seem not - but I can't find the answer.

    1. Hi Anni - I'm sorry I have no idea! I also can't find the answer on the net.


I love to hear from everyone so thanks for taking the time to comment. Please note comments containing links will NOT be published.