Viral: Fried Rice Syndrome, Everything You Need To Know
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Off late, social media has been abuzz with conversations about a phenomenon that occurred in the year 2008, where a Belgian student faced the fatal consequences of eating reheated spaghetti that had been left out for five days. Succumbing to symptoms like headache, nausea and abdominal pain, the death was attributed to a toxin produced by the bacteria known as the Bacillus cereus. This food poisoning causing bacteria causes two types of infections – namely diarrhoea and vomiting, that usually settle in a few days; however, anyone with low immunity might need immediate medical attention.

This commonly found bacteria in the environment often tend to multiply in starchy foods like rice or pasta that has been left out, once cooked, for a long period of time. If not refrigerated properly, the Bacillus cereus can also affect the quality of vegetable or meat-based dishes, producing toxins in food left around at room temperature. The spores of the bacteria are heat-resistant and hence, reheating food at high temperatures might not eliminate it from the food, causing sickness. Most times, those suffering from the attack of the toxins might experience symptoms similar to other gastrointestinal infections.

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According to research studies conducted in the University of Florida, refrigerating cooked foods promptly after consumption can help in preventing the growth of the bacteria in the food. The study also suggests that cooked food, especially meat, must not be left at room temperature for more than a couple of hours. Breaking large quantities of food and refrigerating them in smaller portions can also allow you to reheat just as much as is needed, versus continually reheating the entire portion, changing the chemical composition of the ingredients.