What Is Fried Rice Syndrome And How To Treat It?
Image Credit: Unrefrigerated Fried Rice can be a host of several bacteria | Freepik

Seasonal changes can directly and indirectly affect food. With the rise of temperature, the likelihood of bacterial cultivation increases too, which is why it is preferred to refrigerate cooked foods to keep them from spoiling and reducing their risk of being a host of bacteria. 

Cooked food kept on the counter for long durations, unrefrigerated, can be a host of several dangerous bacteria that can spoil the food and cause food poisoning. These bacteria thrive in warm conditions, which is why even reheating can't kill them. These bacteria can be a cause of life-threatening diseases such as Fried Rice Syndrome. This syndrome became the most trending disease when the news of a death that occurred 16 years ago was made viral on social media.

Image Credit: Freepik

It was reported that the possible cause of death was the consumption of reheated pasta that was left on the counter for five days without refrigerating it. Due to this, a healthy young man succumbed to death after suffering from severe vomiting and a digestive disorder. The autopsy report revealed the cause of death to be liver failure due to high amounts of Bacillus cereus, the bacteria that was cultivated in leftover pasta. Bacillus cereus is the bacteria that causes food poisoning called Fried Rice Syndrome.

Know about what this syndrome is and how you can prevent it.

What Is Fried Rice Syndrome?

The name comes from bacteria arising in leftover rice and pasta dishes that can be a host for a deadly bacteria called Bacillus cereus. This bacteria cultivates on starch-rich foods like rice and pasta and needs hot and humid temperatures to keep growing, thus it can't be killed by reheating. The factors that can give rise to these bacteria are cooking and storing food at improper temperatures. The symptoms of this syndrome include diarrhoea and vomiting as the first signs, but if contaminated food is consumed in large quantities, it can also lead to death in rare cases.

Image Credit: Freepik

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infection talks about the survival and growth of  Bacillus cereus in boiled and fried rice. The studies were conducted after several outbreaks of food poisoning pointed out Bacillus cereus associated with cooked rice usually from Chinese restaurants and `take-away' shops. The study suggests preventive measures to stop the outbreaks of food poisoning.

Measures To Prevent Fried Rice Syndrome:

1) Boil Rice in Small Quantities

The study suggests that rice should be boiled and cooked in small quantities during hot and humid days which can reduce the storage time before frying the rice.

2) Either Keep The Rice Hot or Cooled After Cooking

Maintaining proper temperatures after cooking the rice is crucial. As improper temperatures can help the bacteria thrive, a constant temperature can shun its growth. It is suggested that rice should be kept hot with a constant temperature greater than 63° C or it should be refrigerated within 2 hrs of cooking before frying.

3) Avoid Storing Boiled Or Fried Rice in Warm Condition

Since warm temperatures can lead to the growth of bacteria, it is advised to not store boiled or fried rice in a warm environment where the temperature range is within 15-50° C.

This Spring, keep your rice and pasta from bacterial growth and bolster your defences to stay away from food poisoning. Adhere to the preventive measures to stay healthy and avoid getting sick.