Yup, leftover rice can actually be scarily bad for you, according to the NHS.
Now, I’m not sure if this is another one of those things that every other adult in the world already knows, and you’re going to be sitting there reading this like: “duh! who doesn’t know that?!” But, in case you didn’t already know, you can get a pretty serious case of food poisoning from eating reheated rice; it’s not the reheating that causes the problem, but the way the rice has been stored after being cooked the first time. You see, uncooked rice often contains spores of Bacillus cereus – a bacteria strand that can cause– that can survive when rice is cooked.
So, if the rice is left standing at room temperature after it’s been boiled, the spores can grow into bacteria, which will ultimately multiply and may produce toxins that cause the typical food poisoning symptoms.
With this in mind, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that the bacteria will make the rice unsafe to eat. So, it’s super important that you store your rice safely and quickly if you’re hoping to reheat it later.
So, serve rice as soon as it’s been cooked, and cool any leftovers as quickly as possible. The NHS recommend that you ideally do this within an hour. You can then keep the rice in the fridge for one day before reheating.
As with all things we reheat in the microwave, it goes without saying that you should also check the rice is ‘piping hot’ all the way through when you’re reheating it, and never ever reheat it more than once.