Have you heard of the term ‘fried rice syndrome’? This health problem has recently sparked online concern, with internet users engaging in a heated debate about food safety. According to The Conversation, it all began when the case of a 20-year-old who died in 2008 was revived online. According to the news report, the college student died after reportedly reheating and eating five-day-old spaghetti that had been left out of the refrigerator. The case, which was first reported in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, was referred to as ‘unusual’ and centered on the student’s death after consuming Bacillus cereus-affected food.

What Is Fried Rice Syndrome?

Fried rice syndrome’ is a kind of food poisoning caused by Bacillus cereus (or B. cereus) in starchy foods such as rice and pasta. According to the journal Microbial Pathogenesis, the phrase came from the initial exposure to a fried rice meal infected with B. cereus. This occurred in Europe throughout the twentieth century, when the country saw a number of foodborne outbreaks resulting in food poisoning or sickness.

Fried Rice Syndrome: What Causes It?

Cereus bacterium, as previously stated, may infect a wide range of foods, including starchy and meat items. Bacteria present in the environment thrive on food that is not properly preserved and is left unattended for an extended period of time. According to the study published in Microbial Pathogenesis, B. cereus produces a lethal toxin called cereulide, which particularly affects protein-rich foods. Furthermore, the cereulide toxin produced by B. cereus is heat-resistant and cannot be eliminated by cooking.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Fried Rice Syndrome?

The symptoms of this virus are typically not fatal. According to the Singapore Food Agency’s official, it causes vomiting and diarrhea, as well as a loss of fluid in the body. These diseases can be readily avoided in a few days, but people with underlying health issues require additional medical treatment.

How can Fried Rice Syndrome be prevented or reduced?

  • It is recommended to prepare meals at a high temperature and consume it right away.
  • According to the Food Standards Agency, you should not leave prepared food unattended for longer than one hour. It might result in the development of B. cereus bacteria.
  • Allow the additional food to cool before transferring it to a refrigerator at a temperature below four degrees Celsius, according to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
  • According to SFA, store the food in an airtight container to seal it in moisture and minimize cross-contamination, especially with raw food.
  • The recommended practice is to consume cooked food within 24 hours of heating it to temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius.
  • Food made in bulk should be kept in smaller amounts and reheated before use.

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