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B. Cereus February 24, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Home & Garden.

This is a public health announcement about any leftover rice and pasta you have in your fridge.

Don’t eat it without REHEATING it enough to kill any B. Cereus toxins loitering about on it.

A 19-year-old college student ate leftover lo mein and ended up having his fingers and legs amputated.

I’m serious:

The Massachusetts college student had eaten rice, chicken and lo mein from a restaurant. Soon after, he felt abdominal pain and his skin turned a shade of purple, according to a report by The New England Journal of Medicine.

The teenager was admitted to a hospital for “shock, multiple organ failure, and rash,” and his condition quickly declined. He experienced abnormal breathing, high blood pressure and vomiting. The student had been healthy overall with regular drinking and smoking habits, the report said.

Bacillus Cereus (B. Cereus) is a nasty bacterium that hangs out on dried rice and pasta.  Once it is cooked, the bacteria comes alive and starts to multiply.

The bacteria produces a toxin when heated and left out too long, according to the CDC.

For that reason, it’s important to cool rice and pasta in shallow containers.  Never in a big pot.

And to be super safe, reheat FULLY before consuming.

Your fingers and toes will thank you!

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. mybeautfulthings - February 24, 2022

I knew about rice but not about pasta so thank you very much for this post. Stay safe. 😊

nrhatch - February 24, 2022

I had NO IDEA before seeing the article referenced in this post, but I generally get leftovers in the fridge FAST and reheat fully before eating.

You can bet I’ll be even more vigilant now!

mybeautfulthings - February 24, 2022

So do we and so will we! 🙂

nrhatch - February 24, 2022

Good plan, Sally!

2. Rivergirl - February 24, 2022

Yikes. That’s terrifying. I’m always careful with leftovers but will be doubly so now.

nrhatch - February 24, 2022

I’m often amazed at how casual others are about leftovers. When “gifted” with leftovers that sat out for hours after dinner before being offered to me, I try to decline.

If I’m unsuccessful in my efforts to leave the leftovers where they were left over, I toss them when I get home. It’s just not worth the risk.

3. Behind the Story - February 25, 2022

This is a scary story. My daughter sent it to me yesterday. She’s the careless one about leftovers, not me. So I hope she takes it seriously.

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

Yes, fingers crossed that your daughter is more careful after reading this recounting. What a tragedy.

4. Val Boyko - February 25, 2022

Ye gads!!! Thanks for this Nancy 🙏

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

The story absolutely floored me, Val. So does Putin and his recent onslaught.

Nevertheless, I shall keep breathing . . .

Val Boyko - February 25, 2022

I’ve joined a daily meditation / intention for peace in the Ukraine. Having read The Power of Eight by Lynne McTaggart, I believe we can bring healing to others and the world.
Check out her page on Facebook… or simply pause and being that love and intention for peace at Noon. You will be connecting to thousands around the world 🙏

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

Thanks, Val. To peace!

5. Ally Bean - February 25, 2022

I’ve never heard this before and am horrified. I love rice and pasta as leftovers, but don’t always heat them up again. Marvelous, something else is out to get me, something that I think is benign… but obviously isn’t. Thanks for the information.

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

If rice & pasta are cooled promptly BEFORE the bacterium begins to multiply, eating them without reheating is not an absolute “no-no” . . . but when in doubt, REHEAT!

6. Kate Crimmins - February 25, 2022

Who knew? I learn something every day.

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

I have never been “casual” about leftovers . . . I pop them in the fridge ASAP. Nevertheless, I shall be more vigilant now. I’m fond of my digits!

Kate Crimmins - February 25, 2022

I’m the annoying hostess who asks if everyone has eaten as much as they want as I want to get the food in the fridge. I didn’t know rice could be nasty. It looks so benign.

nrhatch - February 25, 2022

Same here, Kate. I put leftovers in the fridge before serving dessert. And I’ve never viewed rice and pasta as harbingers of danger.

7. Debra - February 25, 2022

Oh my gosh! This is shocking to read. I had no idea, but I’m warned now! Thank you for the public service announcement, Nancy!

nrhatch - February 26, 2022

The story got my attention too, Debra. Food poisoning is nasty enough without the EXTREME complications experienced by this teen. His roommate, in contrast, had a milder reaction. Life can be such a crap shoot. Stay well!

8. L. Marie - February 27, 2022

Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I read this! I didn’t know this at all!!!

nrhatch - February 27, 2022

I read a related article last night which emphasized that organ failure from food poisoning is a RARE occurrence. But it stressed that leftovers should be:

1. Refrigerated within 2-3 hours.
2. Used within 2-3 days.
3. REHEATED to 165 degrees or higher.

9. roughwighting - February 27, 2022

Ack!!! 🤭

nrhatch - February 27, 2022

Agree completely, Pam!

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