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The Way We All Cook Rice Is Killing Us, Apparently

Josh Teal

| Last updated 

The Way We All Cook Rice Is Killing Us, Apparently

Say goodbye to boiled-rice and a big hello to microwavable rice because scientists have warned that people are putting themselves at high risk by incorrectly cooking their rice.

New experiments show that by simply boiling the stuff in a pan until the water has steamed out can expose rice-lovers to poison arsenic.

Rice becomes contaminated with industrial toxins and pesticides as it grows. Arsenic has been lined to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Although popular belief that traces of arsenic are killed when rice is cooked, the truth is that they are only expelled if the rice is soaked overnight.


Image: PA

Professor of biological sciences at Queens University Belfast, Andy Meharg, undertook tests for BBC show 'Trust Me, I'm a Doctor', to see what was what

He found that the steamed-out method left only traces of arsenic.


Joe Wicks loves cooking rice. Credit: Uncle Ben's

When the rice was soaked overnight, toxin-levels went down 80%.

Your best bet is to not only soak it, but then wash and rinse it until the water's clear, before draining and eventually boiling in a saucepan. Make sure you follow a ratio of five parts water to one part rice.


Or just get Uncle Ben's. It's not great, but less faffing about at the end of the day. Life's too short for overnight soaks.

It's already known that rice can lead to other problems, like severe food poisoning.

The FSA (Food Standards Agency) says: "Uncooked rice can contain spores of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

"When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will multiply and may produce poisons that cause vomiting or diarrhoea.

"Reheating the rice won't get rid of these poisons.

"So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that poisons produced could stop the rice being safe to eat.

"It's best to serve rice when it has just been cooked. If that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating."


Speaking of reheating, what do we love reheating the most? Pizza! But what should we do in regards to not being poisoned beside the basics?

The FSA told TheLADbible: "If you choose to keep hot takeaway pizza as leftovers, then you should make sure it's cooled down at room temperature within 2 hours. Takeaway leftovers should be stored, covered and kept in a fridge for up to two days. An exception to this is rice based dished which should only be kept for one day.

"You can also freeze takeaway food for up to three months but its quality is likely to diminish over time. If takeaway food is frozen, the food should be fully reheated within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.

"Always defrost the food in the fridge. Before eating, also make sure the leftover food is reheated thoroughly by reaching a core temperature of 70˚C for 2 minutes or equivalent."


Grub up, lads, and stay safe.

Josh Teal
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