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MDLinxWhat is “Fried Rice Syndrome,” and why is it Killing People?

The Hidden Dangers of Bacillus Cereus in Improperly Stored Food

The recent resurgence of a condition known as “Fried Rice Syndrome” has raised concerns among the medical community. This form of food poisoning, caused by the bacterium Bacillus cereus, has been linked to improperly stored cooked food, particularly starchy foods like rice and pasta.

Key Points

  • “Fried Rice Syndrome” refers to food poisoning from Bacillus cereus, which becomes a risk when cooked food is left at room temperature for too long.
  • Bacillus cereus is a common bacterium found all over the environment. It begins to cause problems if it gets into certain foods that are cooked and not stored properly.
  • The bacterium produces a type of cell called a spore, which is very resistant to heating.
  • Symptoms of infection with B. cereus include diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Illness tends to resolve in a few days, but people who are vulnerable, such as children or those with underlying conditions, may be more likely to need medical attention.

The number one rule of food temperature safety is timing: Cooked foods or raw meats, dairy, eggs, or fermented food that have been left out in the temperature danger zone for up to 2 hours need to be refrigerated or heated up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 15 seconds.
Carlos Fragoso, MS, a registered dietitian based in NYC and Founder of Nutrethos

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