What you need to know about the storage of rice and noodles

A 19-year-old college student was hospitalized for multiple organ failure and had his toes and fingers amputated. According to a report from the New England Journal of Medicine.

He was later diagnosed with meningococcal purpura. Students reportedly ate leftover rice, chicken and lo mein.

Experts told USA TODAY that the condition is different from food poisoning caused by bacteria such as Salmonella. However, the incident drew new attention to the safe storage and reheating of leftovers.

How can I safely store leftover rice and pasta? What about other leftovers? Here’s what you need to know to eat these foods safely:

Why is leftover rice dangerous?

“There are a lot of bacteria that can get sick,” Dr. Frank Esper of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases told USA TODAY.

He said these bacteria “can grow in foods that have been left behind for too long or make toxins in the foods.” Alternatively, the food may be contaminated without even spoiling. “

Experts warn against improper storage of the remaining rice because rice, pasta, and other foods contain a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. Bacteria produce toxins when heated and left for long periods of time.

And this is not just a problem with rice.Bacteria You can also link to sauces, soups and other leftovers Excluded at room temperature.

The teenager ate the rest of the rice and noodles: A few hours later, the doctor amputated his legs and fingers

Food safety: How to monitor recalls and prevent food poisoning

How can I keep my leftovers safe?

Mayo Clinic’s registered dietitian, Catherine Zeratsky, told USA TODAY, “Most bacteria are killed when cooked properly, and then the food can be kept safe by treating it so that it is not too high. Masu “.

So let’s say you just finished your meal and want to save the rest. “It is considered safe to quickly cool the leftovers to the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer within two hours,” says Zeratsky.

“I want to help the food cool to the refrigerator temperature the fastest,” she said, adding that the food can be stored in shallow containers that can be spread out and cooled faster.

Also, if you want to reheat the food later, “It is recommended to reheat the leftover food to a sufficiently high temperature of 165 degrees so that it can be eaten safely and control the bacterial load.”

You can use a food thermometer to check that the food has reached 165 degrees. According to the United States Department of Agriculture. If you are cooking food in the microwave, it is a good idea to check if it is heated.

According to USDA, all fresh food that has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be discarded. Also, if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Celsius in the warm season, discard fresh food that has been left at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Wondering about reheating that week-old pizza behind the fridge? Throw it. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.You can find additional safety tips regarding food storage and reheating here.

What should I do if I feel sick because of leftover food?

According to Esper, people who get sick from leftover food or contaminated food often have symptoms such as “stomach upset, cramps, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, diarrhea.”

“Some people are really, really, really sick of food and very vulnerable,” he quoted the elderly and children. He also said that pregnant people, people taking medications to suppress the immune system, etc. could also be at risk.

“The majority of people who have problems with any of these infections or toxins after food poisoning are primarily dehydrated. Therefore, keep drinking water and get too dry or dehydrated. If you can prevent it, you’re probably okay, “Esper said.

“But if you belong to one of these high-risk groups, or if you can’t keep up with the amount you’re exhaling, you can’t control anything and you’re crazy, so it’s time to talk to your doctor. came. .”

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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Is the leftover good after 7 days?How to safely store rice and noodles

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