Food Reheating Risks: What To Avoid to Prevent Toxins

2023-12-03 19:41:29

When some foods are reheated, they can release toxins due to microbiological and chemical processes that occur during storage and heating. A common example is rice, which can harbor spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that produces heat-resistant toxins.

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By reheating rice, these spores can become active bacteria, and if high enough temperatures are not reached, the toxins produced can persist and pose a health risk.

Multiple analyzes have been done in this regard. The “International Journal of Food Microbiology” published a study (Jeyaram et al., 2013) that analyzes the presence of Bacillus cereus in foods, including rice, and the risks associated with food poisoning.

By reheating the rice, these spores can become active bacteria,

Potatoes, on the other hand, contain solanine, a toxic substance that can accumulate in the skin and green areas of the potato. When reheating, especially at high temperatures, solanine can be released in greater quantities, which could be harmful to those consuming the food.

Boiled eggs are prone to bacterial contamination, and improper reheating may not eliminate all bacteria present. This can lead to the production of toxic substances, underscoring the importance of properly refrigerating cooked eggs if they are not consumed immediately.

In the case of mushrooms, these are foods that can be easily contaminated. If not handled and stored correctly, the spores and toxins present may persist and not be completely eliminated by reheating, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

Dr. Camila Echeverri explains on the San Ignacio Hospital Channel that during this Christmas season, cases of food poisoning abound. To identify this condition, the expert states that “in general it will begin shortly after eating the food and you may have belly pain that can be generalized, like colic or cramps, and be accompanied by diarrhea that is liquid stools and vomiting or the urge to vomit.

According to Echeverri, attention should be focused on people who present these symptoms and cannot hydrate themselves “because the treatment of food poisoning is hydration,” he said.

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Proper handling and storage of food, as well as attention to cooking and reheating temperatures, are essential to prevent the proliferation of bacteria and the formation of toxins. Knowing the risks associated with certain foods when reheating them can contribute to a safer and healthier cooking practice.

Avoid Reheating These Seven Foods

Rice: It has been observed that reheating rice can promote the growth of bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which can produce toxins that are not eliminated by subsequent heat. Potatoes: Reheating potatoes can cause the formation of a toxin called solanine, which can be harmful to your health. It is advisable to refrigerate the potatoes if they are not consumed immediately. Eggs: Reheating cooked eggs can result in the production of toxic substances. If they are to be consumed later, it is preferable to store boiled eggs in the refrigerator. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are prone to contamination easily, and reheating them may not eliminate all spores and toxins. It is advisable to consume them fresh or, failing that, store them properly in the refrigerator. Vegetable oil: Reheating vegetable oils at high temperatures can trigger the release of free radicals and toxic substances. It is preferable to use fresh oil for cooking whenever necessary. Cooked chicken: If chicken is reheated incorrectly, it can lead to the growth of Salmonella bacteria. It is recommended to heat the chicken completely and at safe temperatures to avoid the risk of food poisoning. Spinach: Reheating spinach can turn it into a potential source of nitrates, which can be transformed into nitrites, compounds that have been associated with health risks. It is advisable to consume spinach fresh or store it in the refrigerator properly.

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