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Silent Killer in Your Kitchen: Revealing the ‘Fried Rice Syndrome’

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With the recent increase in single-person households, food delivery orders are on the rise, leading to more cases of people storing leftover food for later consumption. However, this practice could expose individuals to unexpected illnesses. One of the main concerns is the fried rice syndrome.

Reference photo to help understand fried rice syndrome (not related to the article) / abadgirls00-pixabay.com

Fried rice syndrome is food poisoning caused by the bacterium Bacillus cereus, commonly found in soil. It thrives in carbohydrate-rich foods like rice or pasta. Fried rice, especially made with leftover rice, provides an ideal environment for this bacterium to multiply.

In 2008, a college student in Belgium tragically lost his life after consuming pasta that had been left at room temperature for five days. The student experienced symptoms like headaches, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting just 30 minutes after eating and passed away 10 hours later. Autopsy results revealed that his death was due to acute liver failure caused by food poisoning from Bacillus cereus.

Last year, a TikTok user mentioned this incident, highlighting the dangers of fried rice syndrome. Recently, warnings about the risks of fried rice syndrome have been spreading quickly through social media, alerting potential dangers for those who frequently order delivery food.

Bacillus cereus, the bacterium causing fried rice syndrome, is not seasonal, posing a year-round threat. It can also thrive in heat and survive for extended periods in dried foods. It’s risky to leave old ramen or pasta for a long time, and it’s crucial not to leave cooked grain-based foods at room temperature.

Bacillus cereus multiplies at temperatures ranging from 45 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than refrigerator temperatures. Therefore, even cooked food can breed bacteria if left at room temperature. Cooked food should be refrigerated as quickly as possible, and if it’s been out of the fridge for over two hours, it should be discarded or avoided.

It’s best to thoroughly heat food before eating. Bacillus cereus can survive at high temperatures but dies when exposed to high heat for an extended period. With fried rice syndrome closely linked to commonly consumed delivery food, raising awareness and exercising caution is imperative.

Small precautions in our daily lives can prevent significant risks. Therefore, we all must be aware of Bacillus cereus and maintain safe eating habits.

Reference photo of ‘Fried Rice’ (not related to the article) / takedahrs-pixabay.com
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