The internet is freaking out about reheated rice. Should you be worried?

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A man reheating rice

Reheated atom tin origin nutrient poisoning — if not decently stored. Credit: rbkomar / Getty Images

Food poisoning – we’ve astir apt each had it, and don’t ever want to get it again. Now it seems nan internet has a caller strategy for avoiding it: ne'er eat reheated rice.

"Being a med student intends ne'er being capable to comfortably reheat atom ever again," Janny Garcia, a TikToker and second-year aesculapian student, captioned a viral TikTok of microwaving rice.

Another TikTok video made by nan relationship for look website Food52 stitched nan video, pinch nutrient editor Em Ziemski adding that this type of nutrient poisoning could beryllium very serious. "Hospital workers opportunity it’s immoderate of nan worst cases of nutrient poisoning they’ve ever seen," Em says successful nan post. "It tin lead to death."

As users connected X, formerly known arsenic Twitter, added their own stories to Em’s comments, it seemed that reheated atom was connected its measurement to being canceled, for nan bully of our stomachs and lives. But is "reheated atom syndrome" really that dangerous? We asked nutrient information experts, who told america everything you request to cognize to not accidentally get sick from your leftover rice.

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How reheated atom tin make you sick

The type of nutrient poisoning that you usually get from reheated atom is from a germs called Bacillus Cereus, aliases B. cereus, which successful nan balmy, damp situation of lukewarm rice, releases its peculiar toxin.

"Bacillus cereus is unsocial successful nan bacterial world," Keith Schneider, a professor successful nan Department of Food Science and Nutrition astatine nan University of Florida, told Mashable. "It's 1 of nan fewer germs that is simply a spore-forming microorganism."

While nan power from microwaving your leftovers will termination astir illness-causing germs successful food, B. cereus spores are heat-resistant, said Schneider. So simply trying to fry nan lingering germs won’t thief you.

B. cereus germs grown successful a lab.

B. cereus germs grown successful a lab. Credit: Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

B. Cereus grows champion betwixt 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), according to nan FDA. Once nan germs has colonized your meal, it becomes rather difficult to get free of these spores.

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"Heat-resistant endospores of this germs are much apt to past cooking and commencement increasing again (germinate) erstwhile nan nutrient is cooled gradually complete an extended play of time," Kalmia Kniel, a professor and subordinate chair of nan section of Animal and Food Sciences astatine nan University of Delaware, told Mashable.

How to debar "reheated atom syndrome"

Despite nan hardiness of its spores, getting poisoned by B. cereus isn’t an inevitable portion of eating leftover rice. There are a fewer elemental steps you tin return that usually forestall nan bacteria’s spores from invading your body, starting by cooking your atom properly, said Schneider.

"Then, don't fto it beryllium retired connected nan antagonistic for much than 2 hours," he said. Leaving nan lukewarm atom retired astatine room somesthesia is what gives nan B. cereus germs nan opportunity to get into nan nutrient and commencement establishing itself.

"Don't fto it beryllium retired connected nan antagonistic for much than 2 hours"

Likewise, cooling your atom quickly by putting it successful nan refrigerator straight aliases soon aft it is cooked keeps nan germs from germinating, said Kniel.

Another measurement to forestall B. cereus contamination is to make your atom much acidic, said Shneider. Just arsenic B. cereus can’t germinate successful nan cold, it besides can’t invade foods that are excessively acidic. Adding atom vino vinegar to sushi atom is 1 measurement to do this, he said. In fact, he added, improperly prepared sushi atom that has been sitting retired astatine room somesthesia tin beryllium much of a nutrient information hazard than nan earthy food successful sushi.

How superior is fooding poisoning from B. cereus?

Despite your champion efforts, B. cereus mightiness still make you sick. Foods for illustration sushi and fried atom could beryllium nan culprit, but truthful could respective different foods, including pasta, meats, and sauces.

There are 2 main types of B. cereus nutrient poisoning – nan emetic type, which intends it causes vomiting, and nan diarrheal type. While nan emetic type is caused by consuming nan spores successful food, nan diarrheal type is usually caused by B. cereus increasing successful nan mini intestine, said Kniel.

"Just beryllium cautious."

Regardless of which type you get, you shouldn’t beryllium excessively concerned, Elliot Ryser, a professor emeritus of Food Science and Human Nutrition astatine Michigan State University, told Mashable. While it's existent that you tin beryllium hospitalized and, theoretically, dice from B. cereus nutrient poisoning, it's very uncommon. Pregnant people, nan very young and very old, and group who are immune-compromised are much susceptible to B. cereus poisoning.

Still, according to nan CDC, of nan 63,000 cases of B. cereus nutrient poisoning reported betwixt 2000 and 2008, location were only 20 hospitalizations and nary deaths. A 2023 study that looked astatine B. cereus successful China recovered much hospitalizations, complete 2,000, betwixt 2010 and 2020, but still documented only 5 fatalities. If you do get sick, conscionable make judge to portion tons of water, said Kniel, and you’ll apt beryllium fine. And arsenic agelong arsenic you shop your atom correctly, you whitethorn ne'er person to woody pinch B. cereus successful nan first place.

"Just beryllium cautious," said Ryser.

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