What do you do with your leftover rice? If you are like most people, you preserve it to eat later or on another day. All this is okay. However, leftover rice can make you sick if it’s not stored and handled correctly.

Dry foods like rice and pasta contain Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that produces toxins when heated and left out for too long. The toxins produced, in return cause diarrhea and vomiting. In people with other health problems, severe complications may arise.

Food poisoning symptoms

Stomach pains(Crooze FM)
Stomach pains(Crooze FM)

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, infections caused by food could lead to chronic arthritis, kidney failure, brain and nerve damage.

Generally, the symptoms should go away within 24 hours by resting and rehydrating. If they don’t go away, it’s only best to seek medical attention to avoid complications.

How to prevent food poisoning from leftover rice

rice (9jafood)
rice (9jafood)

Eating leftover rice is not bad and won’t harm you if done correctly. To avoid food poisoning from rice, you will need to cool it pretty fast. This is because the bacterium is more likely to multiply during the cooling process.

ALSO READ: 6 common mistakes you are making when cooking rice

So, make sure you eat the rice and store the leftovers within two hours after cooking. To speed up the cooling process, divide the rice and put in different shallow containers. When it’s cool, store it in the refrigerator. This will prevent bacterial growth. The longer cooked rice stays at room temperature, the higher the chances of bacteria multiplication hence making the rice unsafe for consumption.

Rice  [Nigerian Food TV]
Rice [Nigerian Food TV]

The right way to reheat rice

stirring rice(BBC Good Food)
stirring rice(BBC Good Food)

When reheating your leftover rice, make sure it’s piping hot all over. You can add a tablespoonful or two of water to make sure the rice is re-steamed and that it’s well heated to avoid bacterial growth. Serve the rice immediately when still piping hot.

Medical News Today goes on to advise that you should not reheat rice more than once to avoid food poisoning.