A type of food poisoning called fried rice syndrome recently went viral on TikTok. The condition first made headlines in 2008 after a 20-year-old student died from it. A TikToker recently shared a video of a man who died after eating unrefrigerated leftover pasta that was 5 days old. The now popular video has caused a lot of fear among internet users as it is not uncommon for people to consume leftover food. The term fried rice syndrome was coined after the first cases of it were documented associated with cooked unrefrigerated rice used to prepare fried rice dishes in restaurants.
Fried rice syndrome is a type of bacterial food poisoning (Pixabay)
What is fried rice syndrome?
Fried rice syndrome is a type of food poisoning caused by the bacterium Bacillus cereus, which is commonly present in the environment. This common bacteria causes problems if it is present in certain foods that are cooked but kept for some time without refrigeration. It can affect all types of food items, but the main culprits are foods rich in starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread.
Bacteria, when present in cooked food, release toxins during the time it is not cooled. The longer it is kept like that, the more toxins are released. Unlike other bacteria, Bacillus cereus produces a type of cell, called a spore, that is resistant to heat. Therefore, heating remains contaminated with this bacteria does not kill its harmful effects. Although dormant, these spores can grow rapidly and become active under the right temperature and conditions.
What happens in fried rice syndrome?
After someone consumes food contaminated with Bacillus cereus, the toxins produced by its spores begin to cause illness. Symptoms can vary from diarrhea to vomiting. It is not particularly fatal as the disease usually resolves within a few days with appropriate treatment. However, children and those with other illnesses need serious medical attention when suffering from this type of food poisoning. In severe cases, this bacterium can cause an intestinal infection, leading to acute liver failure and even death.
What are the measures against it?
Because Bacillus cereus can grow rapidly and multiply within just a few hours, it is advised to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking, according to the USDA. If someone suspects that some food has not been stored properly, they should refrain from eating it and should throw it away to prevent someone else from eating it.
How to treat fried rice syndrome?
In healthy people, the disease usually goes away on its own in a few days with proper hydration and adequate rest. However, in severe cases, patients may need intravenous fluids to maintain hydration. Only those with underlying illnesses, children or immunocompromised people develop serious medical problems. As for the 20-year-old who died after eating leftover pasta, it is speculated that the longer duration of 5 days allowed the bacteria to grow in extremely high numbers and produce the levels of toxins that proved fatal in this case according to Today.
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Links: What is Fried Rice Syndrome? Viral video sparks concern years after student’s death – Tekmonk Bio, What is Fried Rice Syndrome? Viral video sparks concern years after student’s death – Kungfutv, What is Fried Rice Syndrome? Viral video sparks concern years after student’s death – Blogtomoney