Can you get food poisoning from fresh pasta? (7 prevention measures)

In this article, we answer the following question: Can you get food poisoning from fresh pasta? We talk about 7 prevention measures to be healthy and avoid contaminated food, but also about the symptoms and treatment of food poisoning.

Can you get food poisoning from fresh pasta?

Although very unlikely, yes, you can get food poisoning from fresh pasta.  The culprit is the toxin from the bacterium Bacillus cereus, a well-known microorganism that can contaminate rice, cereals, or spices.

The bacteria produce spores that can resist cooking. Therefore, if we are unlucky enough that a contaminated product reaches us, it is cooked and then kept at room temperature (as often happens with cooked pasta), the spores, already free of the rest of the viable bacteria eliminated in cooking, can increase, since at temperatures above 15 or 20 ºC microorganisms reproduce very quickly. 

Besides, the toxins they produce are heat resistant, so the danger does not disappear even if heated well again. Poisoning can cause various symptoms, usually diarrhea or vomiting …, but it can also be severe, with fatal consequences.

Rice and fresh pasta can be contaminated. 

This type of bacteria is more associated with foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, or sauces. Its intoxication is also known by some as “fried rice syndrome,” as it is relatively more frequent in fried or sautéed rice in some Asian restaurants where the rice is cooked in advance, it is not preserved in the right conditions and then it is only sautéed.

Does this mean that you cannot keep rice or pasta once cooked? Yes, if it is handled respecting the rules of hygiene and food safety and is refrigerated promptly.

7 measures to take to avoid getting food poisoning from fresh pasta

To avoid any poisoning, with Bacillus cereus or with any other pathogenic microorganism, it is advisable to carry out hygienic handling of food. Respect these food safety commandments:

  1. Use clean utensils and containers to handle food.
  2. Add the spices before cooking is finished to cook them a bit, as bacteria or mold spores are often found in spices or herbs.
  3. Refrigerate cooked food as soon as possible,
  4. When reheating, do it thoroughly: do not limit yourself to temper it, but make it take at least 80-90 ºC so that the bacteria that may have grown are destroyed.
  5. To defrost, do not do it at room temperature either: opt for the “fast” option in the microwave, or the slow option, moving the frozen from the freezer to the fridge.
  6. Do not keep leftovers in the fridge indefinitely: food has a shelf life, sometimes it comes on the label or product itself. Other times common sense marks it. Fruit, which can spend days in the fridge, is not the same as fresh meat or fish, which do not last for a couple of days. 
  7. Consume leftovers as soon as possible to avoid problems. 

Symptoms of food poisoning

If you did get food poisoning from fresh pasta or rice, the first symptoms usually appear a few hours to 72 hours after food ingestion. Most common symptoms:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • dehydration
  • Feeling tired

The manifestations can be mild or very intense, depending on the person and the pathogen involved.

Food poisoning or gastroenteritis?

There is some confusion between gastroenteritis and food poisoning because the symptoms are often similar. However, gastroenteritis is an infection of the digestive tract caused by microbes, which can be bacteria or viruses, the viral form being the most common. 

If you are affected by these symptoms, you have to ask yourself the following question: do the people with whom you have shared the last meals show the same signs? If so, it must be food poisoning.

Note: Viral gastroenteritis is characterized by diarrhea accompanied by headache and cramping, which is not like food poisoning.

Food poisoning: what helps?

If the toxins ingested are virulent, intoxication may require specific antibiotics, or even hospitalization with gastric lavage, respiratory assistance, and dialysis in the most severe cases.

Fortunately, this happens very rarely. Most of the time, food poisoning is mild and passes by itself after a day or two. You do not need to take medication, but you can take steps to heal faster.

How to react in case of food poisoning?

When food poisoning breaks out, adjust your diet right away. On the first day, eat only liquid foods such as soups or soups to protect the bowel. The next day, reintroduce lean meats and fish (e.g., turkey, hake) as well as starches (white rice, pasta, cooked potatoes) in your diet.

When you feel an improvement, resume eating fruits and vegetables, but only in the cooked form for 48 hours. You can then start eating them raw again and gradually reintroduce the other foods to your meals.

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following question: Can you get food poisoning from fresh pasta? We talked about 7 prevention measures to be healthy and avoid contaminated food, but also about the symptoms and treatment of food poisoning.

There is always a risk of getting food poisoning from fresh pasta. The toxin from the bacterium Bacillus cereus, a well-known microorganism that can contaminate rice, cereals, or spices. The bacteria produce spores that can resist cooking.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know.

References

Cdc.gov

Webmd.com

MedlinePlus.gov

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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