About one in five Australians think it’s okay to leave cooked rice out of the refrigerator overnight, according to a survey.
Researchers say this risky practise can result in bacterial spores, which survive the cooking process, growing and forming a heat-resistant toxin when the rice begins to cool.
There are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year.
Dr Michael Eyles, Food Safety Information Council Chair, says many think cooked rice is a low risk for food poisoning.
“This just isn’t true,” he said at the start of Australian Food Safety Week.
“Spores from the bacteria Bacillus cereus can survive the cooking process and once the rice begins to cool, they can grow and form a heat resistant toxin. This toxin is not destroyed by further reheating, with only very small amounts needed to make you sick.”
Food poisoning results in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors each year.
The 2014 Newpoll survey was conducted nationally among 1,252 people aged 18 years and over.
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