I’m a dietitian and there are 4 foods you must NEVER reheat – or risk ‘deadly’ pathogens | The Sun

TO heat or not to reheat?

It's a question many of contemplate when faced with yesterday's leftovers.

There are probably some food items you already hesitate over rewarming, like rice.

Kim Lindsay, an accredited practicing dietitian in Australia, weighed into the discussion.

While she confirmed that rice is a risky item to reheat, she mentioned three further foods you might want to avoid warming up if you don't want to get sick.

And some of them might come as a surprise to you.

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1. Rice

Rice is one food we're frequently told not to reheat – but you might not know why you're being cautioned against it.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Kim said: "Rice is a big risk. Those spores are heat resistant, so even when you heat them up, they can still be causing harmful pathogens."

The uncooked grains can contain a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which isn't always killed during the cooking process. This is was can cause you to get food poisoning.

According to the NHS, Bacillus cereus spores can grow in rice that is left standing at room temperature. These will multiply and may produce toxins that cause vomiting or diarrhoea.

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That might make you think twice about warming up your Chinese takeout.

The longer you leave rice at room temperature, the more likely it is poisonous substances will develop, the NHS states.

To avoid getting ill, you should cool your rice as quickly as possible – ideally within an hour of cooking – and don't keep in the fridge for longer than a day before eating.

If you do choose to reheat it, you should make sure it's steaming hot all the way through.

2. Potatoes

Surprisingly, you could risk getting ill by reheating potatoes, according to Kim.

Just like rice, the danger comes from storing the starchy staple at room temperature: doing so for more than two hours could lead to the growth of Clostridium botulinum. 

The lethal toxins produced by this bacteria could cause a rare but life threatening condition called botulism, which can attack the brain, nerves and spinal cord and cause paralysis.

The bacteria produces the botulism causing toxins when deprived of oxygen, so food-bourne botulism tends to be caused by items in closed cans or bottles, the NHS said.

In the case of potatoes, Kim explained that Clostridium botulinum would come from the soil they grew in.

Cooking the spuds in foil could increase the risk of botulism, she added, as the material cuts out the oxygen and could promote the growth of bacteria in the potato.

Mashing potatoes with perishable ingredients like milk, butter and cream could also add to your risk of getting sick if you reheat them, Kim said.

Again, she advised you don't keep the mash at room temperature for more than two hours and said you should heat up until steaming.

3. Spinach

Not reheating greens like spinach properly could cause listeriosis, a serious infection that results in fever, flu-like symptoms, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and even seizures.

The illness is caused the bacteria listeria that can linger on food items.

Premade salads and store-bought greens tend to carry listeria, according to Kim.

The NHS added that dairy products made from unpasteurised milk, cheeses like camembert and brie, as well as sliced meets, could put you at risk of listeriosis.

Three goats cheese products stocked in Tesco, Waitrose and the Co-op were recently pulled from supermarket shelves over fears they could be contaminated with a deadly bug.

4. Eggs

Fourth on Kim's list of risky foods to reheat was eggs.

The breakfast food staple can carry the bacteria salmonella, which can cause all sorts of unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea, tummy pain, fever and vomiting.

Kim says that eggs stored at temperatures between 40 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit (4C to 74C) is the 'danger zone.' 

"Pathogens can grow at a faster rate when they're at that temperature," she said.

"If there's more pathogens and more harmful bacteria in a food, then there's an increased risk of food poisoning when we eat it," she said.

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If you are reheating your food, you should only ever do it once – you increase your risk of nasty food poisoning each time you do so, according to the NHS.

You should use chilled food within two days of cooking it and make sure sure it's steaming hot and heated all the way through to 75°C before eating it, it added.

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