February 11, 2024

Did you know ‘fried rice syndrome’ can cause death? Here’s how to avoid it



Fried Rice Syndrome can cause anything from stomach upset to severe vomiting and even death.

Fried Rice Syndrome can be deadly, but it's totally avoidable [TheHeartySoul]



The connection to fried rice became apparent when investigators realised that the common denominator among these cases was the consumption of a specific type of fried rice from various eateries.


The term stuck, and ‘Fried Rice’ Syndrome became the medical term for this mysterious ailment.

So, what exactly is ‘Fried Rice’ Syndrome, and how dangerous can it be?

Fried Rice Syndrome is a foodborne illness, and the typical symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and, surprisingly, neurological complications. Some patients reported experiencing headaches, dizziness, and even temporary loss of consciousness. Since the symptoms varied among patients, researchers began to explore the possible causes.

Upon closer inspection, researchers identified a common denominator—Bacillus cereus, a bacteria found in cooked rice. When rice is left at room temperature for an extended period, spores of Bacillus cereus can multiply and produce toxins. These toxins, when ingested, can cause one to have ‘Fried Rice’ Syndrome. The cooking process in the case of fried rice specifically, can create hot spots that multiply bacterial growth.

The first documented cases of ‘Fried Rice’ Syndrome emerged in a small town where a local Chinese restaurant was a common source of meals for residents. People who had consumed the fried rice from this eatery began reporting unusual symptoms, and as more cases surfaced, health authorities launched an investigation to uncover the root cause.


The investigation revealed that the rice used in the restaurant’s fried rice dishes had been prepared in large batches and kept at room temperature for an extended period before being reheated for serving. This provided an environment for Bacillus cereus to multiply, causing the contamination of the rice with bacterial toxins.

The good news is that Fried Rice Syndrome is completely preventable. Here’s how you can avoid it:

  • Cool down your cooked rice quickly and put it in the fridge right away.
  • Don’t let cooked rice sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Reheat your rice thoroughly until it’s steaming hot before serving.
  • Keep your kitchen clean and tidy to prevent the little bugs from spreading.

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