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Though reheating takeout when you're too busy is—understandably—a lazy girl's go-to, leftover rice can apparently (opens in new tab) be quite bad for you if you're not careful.
Reheating rice isn't technically the problem, but rather, it's the way the rice has been stored after it was cooked the first time.
Uncooked rice often contains spores of Bacillus cereus—a bacteria strand that can cause food poisoning—which are able to survive even after rice is cooked.
If rice is left standing at room temperature after it's been boiled, the spores can grow into bacteria, which will ultimately multiply and could produce toxins that cause vomiting or diarrhea.
The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria will make the rice unsafe to eat—which is why you should store your rice in the fridge quickly if you're hoping to reheat it later.
So, what can you do to avoid food poisoning altogether? First off, serve rice as soon as it's cooked, and cool any leftovers as quickly as possible. The NHS (opens in new tab) recommend eating fresh rice within an hour, ideally. Then you can keep rice in the fridge (but for no more than a day, apparently) before you reheat it.
It's worth noting you should also check the rice is "steaming hot" all the way through when you're reheating it, and never attempt to reheat it more than once.
Who knew leftovers could be so complicated?
Dusty Baxter-Wright is Cosmopolitan’s Acting Entertainment Editor, overseeing all things celebrity, TV and film, as well as Lifestyle.
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