it’s generally advised to not reheat rice due to the possibly of food borne illnesses. So why can we eat sushi with cold rice or frozen dinners with rice?

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it’s generally advised to not reheat rice due to the possibly of food borne illnesses. So why can we eat sushi with cold rice or frozen dinners with rice?

In: Biology

If you leave cooked rice out at room temperature for several hours the bacteria starts to grow. That’s the only situation in which you wouldn’t want to eat it, reheated or not. If you cook it and refrigerate/freeze it soon after, it’s safe to reheat later because you never gave the bacteria enough time to grow.

Sushi rice is cooked and then served, not left at room temp for many hours. Frozen meals have rice partially cooked and then are flash frozen, again not left at room temp for hours where bacteria can grow.

Because the threat of reheated rice is largely overblown. For starters, it’s not the reheating that’s the problem, but the storage. Rice can carry a bacterial spore for a particular species whose name I forget. Spores are really durable and can survive the initial cooking process. If you then leave the rice out for a while, the spores can reactivate and begin to grow colonies of bacteria. If you reheat it and then leave it out for a while again, you’re increasing the temperature of the rice to a point that doesn’t cook the bacteria, but only lets them grow faster for a bit (as bacteria like warmth). It’s not really reheated rice that’s the issue, it’s old rice – reheating just reduces the time necessary for these bacterial colonies to grow to sizes where they might cause a bit of tummy trouble.

But this issue isn’t a huge one, hence why rice cookers are perfectly happy keeping a batch of rice warm for hours. They create the ideal conditions for bacterial growth, but still don’t cause problems unless you’ve left it on for half a day or more. And as for sushi, you’re eating raw meats and fish – rice should be the least of your health concerns on that front.

Sushi rice has vinegar added to reduce the pH to less than 4.6 to limit bacteria from growing.

Also the prep surfaces are kept sanitized, knives, the mats to roll things and the workers wear gloves to prevent the transfer of bacteria.