Can you get sick from eating expired rice?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired rice” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired rice. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store rice.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired rice?

When it comes to rice, you do not get sick from eating expired rice as long as it was stored properly. No doubt that rice tends to go rancid owing to the oxidation of fats but eating expired rice does not pose health issues as long as there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.  

The exception to this is if the rice has gone rancid for a long time and there are a large number of mycotoxins present in it (mycotoxins are produced by the molds), then consumption of such rice can trigger symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea to convulsions, coma, an increased risk of cancer, and a weak immune system. 

It is worth mentioning that instead of “expiry date” you will find a “best before” or “best by” date written on the packet of the rice.

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of rice refers to the quality rather than safety so the rice doesn’t go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of rice but you can still use rice that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

Thus, you should do a sensory evaluation of your rice to reach a final verdict on whether or not it is still suitable to consume. 

Certain indicators point out bad rice. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the rice to reach a final verdict on whether it is still suitable to consume or not.

Appearance

If you spot a mold or organic growth on your rice (molds can grow on uncooked rice only when it is stored in a humid environment for a long time or moisture somehow found its way to it) then the best thing you can do is to toss out such rice.

If you spot weevils or bugs in your rice jar then it is better to toss such rice out due to cleanliness concerns.

Smell

If you smell something foul, rancid, or musty while taking a sniff test of your rice then it is an indication of bad rice and it is better to toss it out.

Texture

Moreover in the case of brown rice, if you notice that the rice is oily to touch then it is an indication of bad rice and you should discard them.

So you should consider the points mentioned above before deciding whether you are going to use rice or not.

It is worth mentioning that in dry rice spores of Bacillus Cereus can be present and they can even survive cooking. So if the rice is cooked and left out in the open for too long, the spores can grow into bacteria. 

The bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins that can result in food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

You can read more about food poisoning caused by Bacillus Cereus here.

What is the shelf life of rice?

The raw white rice lasts for about 4-5 years when stored properly in the pantry. Brown rice stays fresh for about 6-8 months in an air-tight container in your pantry while the wild rice stays fresh for about 6-8 months in the pantry. 

When it comes to the minute rice, they have a shelf life of 4-5 years when they are kept in an air-tight container in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat.

Moreover, you should never store your rice in a humid environment as moisture, sunlight and heat degrade the quality of the rice and shortens its shelf life.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of rice and it can last for even longer provided that it is stored properly.

When it comes to the cooked rice, it lasts for about 3-6 days in the fridge if stored properly at or below 40°F in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

It should be kept in mind that the shelf life of the cooked rice depends upon the method by which the rice was cooked and the ingredients that were added to the rice along with the storage conditions.

Tips to properly store rice

  1. Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and quality of the rice therefore rice should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce its exposure to air.
  1. Do not store your rice in a humid environment.
  1. You should store rice away from direct sunlight as the sunlight can speed up the rate of oxidation of fats.
  1. Rice should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.
  1. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the rice jar or container and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the rice that you need.
  1. Once you have opened the package of rice, it is recommended to transfer the rest of the rice in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.
  1. You should never use a wet spoon to scoop out the rice from the container.
  1. Always use clean utensils and spoons to scoop out rice from its container.
  1. You should always store your cooked rice at 40°F or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store cooked rice at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality.
  1. Never leave your opened cooked rice on the kitchen counter for more than 2 hours or else the bacteria and other microbes will contaminate it.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired rice” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired rice. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store rice.

Citations

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/02/fried-rice-syndrome-how-leftover-rice-food-poisoning/3555725002/

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/does-uncooked-rice-go-bad

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/can-reheating-rice-cause-food-poisoning/#:~:text=Uncooked%20rice%20can%20contain%20spores,that%20cause%20vomiting%20or%20diarrhoea.

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-rice-go-bad/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-rice-go-bad#:~:text=Dangers%20of%20eating%20expired%20rice,-Expired%20rice%20is&text=Additionally%2C%20keep%20in%20mind%20that,vomiting%20(6%2C%207%20).

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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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