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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Food Safety

Guidelines for Rice Products

Guidelines for Rice Products

This guidance makes recommendations on good hygiene practice which are designed to promote a high standard of hygiene, thereby reducing the risk of food poisoning.

Rice may contain a bacterium known as Bacillus cereus. Some species of this bacterium may survive the high temperatures reached during normal cooking processes e.g. frying and boiling, by forming heat resistant spores, which may then germinate into living bacteria.

If cooked rice is eaten immediately there should be no problem. However, if the rice is stored in a warm place such as the kitchen area, the bacteria will multiply and produce a toxin so that when the contaminated rice is eaten food poisoning may result.

Frying or heating does not destroy the toxin produced.

If the following simple rules are followed food poisoning should not occur.

Do not boil more rice than is needed for each meal time e.g. lunchtime, evening meals.

If the rice is not to be used immediately, cool it quickly by spreading it out on a shallow tray. Once sufficiently cool, place in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Do not leave rice at room temperaturee for more than 1.5 hours.

Do not keep cooked rice overnight, even if kept in a refrigerator, unless proper facilities to achieve a thorough cooling (with the stipulated 1.5 hours) and then the rapid and thorough reheating to a temperature of at least 70°C can be provided.

All these points apply to any other food added to rice to make up the finished product e.g. egg for egg fried rice or meat for mixed meats and rice salads.

The traditional method of cooking pilau rice involves a long cooling time, during which food poisoning bacteria can multiply. To avoid this, it is preferable to keep the rice hot. At the end of the cooking period, keep the rice in the pan and transfer it to a hot cupboard/oven at around 70°C to absorb the remainder of the cooking liquid. The rice can then be used from the hot cupboard as required. This technique apparently has little detrimental effect on the quality of the rice.