How long is Uncle Ben Ready Rice good after expiration date?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long is Uncle Ben Ready Rice good after expiration date?”, and discuss the risks of eating expired Uncle Ben ready rice. We will tell you how to properly store Uncle Ben ready rice and how to know if it is spoiled.
Uncle Ben Ready Rice is a ready-to-cook instant rice that, due to its production processing, in which the rice is previously cooked and dried, can be eaten after a fast reheating (3).
How long is Uncle Ben Ready Rice good after expiration date?
The time after the expiration date that Uncle Ben Ready Rice is still good can vary from days to months, depending on several factors (2).
If the Uncle Ben Ready Rice remains unopened and is stored properly, it can be safely consumed many days and even months after the expiration date, unless noticeable signs of spoilage are present (1).
However, the expiration date refers to the time after which the product is no longer considered to have the expected nutritional and sensorial properties and may no longer have the original microbial and physical stability (5).
What determines how long Uncle Ben Ready Rice is good after the expiration date?
The main factors that determine how long Uncle Ben Ready Rice is good after the expiration date are following:
- The ingredients: Instant Uncle Ben Ready Rice contains various ingredients, depending on the type. Oils, flavorings and vitamins are commonly added ingredients, which may reduce the shelf life, as these ingredients, especially oil, oxidize over time (7).
- Opening of the package: By opening of the package, moisture and oxygen will easily enter the Uncle Ben Ready Rice, leading to the acceleration of deteriorative reactions. As the packaging is maintained unopened, it is an effective barrier against external factors, including microorganisms (2).
- Storage conditions: Storing Uncle Ben Ready Rice properly before and after opening can ensure its properties according to the expiration date and even a time after the expiration date. However, when there is temperature abuse or exposure to light and moisture, the shelf life of rice products is considerably reduced (8).
- Pests infestation: Rice is susceptible to infestation of pests, such as insects and rodents, which compromise the quality of rice. Uncle Ben Ready Rice is not free from the risk of such pests (8).
What are the risks of eating Uncle Ben Ready Rice after the expiration date?
The risks of eating Uncle Ben Ready Rice after the expiration date are related to short term effects and long term effects of eating expired foods containing lipids.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the different Uncle Ben Ready Rice contain different quantities of lipids, which oxidize with time.
When lipids oxidize, they generate aldehydes, hydroperoxides, ketones, epoxides and other compounds which may interact with molecules and cells in the body and have a toxic effect, leading to diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and early aging (7).
In addition, although less probable, commercial rice products may contain fungi which produce mycotoxins. The consumption of toxins produced by fungi can be also toxic and lead to diseases, such as cancer, with their regular ingestion (5).
The immediate risk of eating Uncle Ben Ready Rice is of experiencing an episode of foodborne illness, in the case of the ingestion of the contaminated product.
Due to the rich ingredients in its composition, Uncle Ben Ready Rice is susceptible to be contaminated by pathogens, which, once ingested (or their toxins) can cause foodborne illnesses (3,5).
Common symptoms of foodborne illnesses are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever.
What is the shelf life of rice?
The shelf life of rice depends on its variety, packaging, storage conditions and, in the case of instant rice, the added ingredients (3,4,5). It is recommended to follow the best-by date indicated by the manufacturer (2,5).
The shelf life of long-grain white rice can be extended to years, when properly packed in a cool place free from moisture. If refrigerated and packed under vacuum, white rice can be kept for more than 10 years. After opening the package, white uncooked rice lasts for 2 years (4).
A study reported the shelf life of 3 years for minute rice packed under modified atmosphere packaging (4).
The shelf life of uncooked Uncle Ben Ready Rice is 6 months to a year when stored in the refrigerator, and in the freezer for 1 to 2 years. When freezing rice, be sure you remove excess air from the container to avoid freezer burn.
Shelf life of cooked rice is more or less the same for all kinds of rice. It stays safe for consumption for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator (9).
Make sure to properly and thoroughly reheat it before eating. You can also store cooked rice in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to store Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice properly?
When unopened, Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice can be stored in the pantry at temperatures between 50 and 50°F.
Keep it away from hot temperatures for example keep it away from the stove top. Keep it away from humidity and sunlight also (6). For extended shelf life, you can also store it in the fridge or the freezer (4).
After opening, it is recommended to cook it or to store it in the fridge or freezer, and remove the air from the package, place it in a glass jar or freezer bag and be aware of alterations indicating spoilage.
How to know if rice is spoiled?
You can tell when the rice has gone bad by looking for signs of spoilage. The signs of spoilage are different for raw rice and cooked rice, as follows (3,5,7,8):
Raw Uncle Ben Ready Rice will give off a rancid odor when it has gone bad because it has fats in it which will deteriorate overtime. Brown rice spoils faster than white rice due to its higher fat content.
However, this depends on the added ingredients and the fat content, as well as on the presence of antioxidants.
The presence of moisture may indicate spoilage, as fungi are able to develop as soon as moisture increases (8).
Cooked rice will also give off a bad odor when it has spoiled. Rancid, sour, putrid, ammonia-like and sulfur-like are possible off-odors, depending on the ingredients. Off-flavors may also manifest. Changes in the texture are possible signs, such as rot and slime.
Cooked rice should also have a fluffy and airy texture. Look for any growth of mold or discolorations as well (10).
Other FAQs about Rice that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long is Uncle Ben Ready Rice good after expiration date?”, and discussed the risks of eating expired Uncle Ben ready rice. We told you how to properly store Uncle Ben ready rice and how to know if it is spoiled.
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- World Health Organization. Food Safety: What you should know. No. SEA-NUT-196. World Health Organization, 2015.
- Van Laanen, Peggy. Safe home food storage. Texas Farmer Collection. 2002.
- Schaich, Karen M. Toxicity of lipid oxidation products consumed in the diet. Bailey’s Ind Oil Fat Prod, John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, USA. 2020, 1-88.
- Rathna Priya, T. S., et al. Nutritional and functional properties of coloured rice varieties of South India: a review. J Ethnic Foods, 2019, 6, 1-11.
- Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Rawat, Seema. Food Spoilage: Microorganisms and their prevention. Asian j plant sci Res, 2015, 5, 47-56.