Bacillus cereus

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Bacillus cereus is an endemic, soil-dwelling bacterium. Some strains are harmful to humans and cause foodborne illness. It is the cause of "Fried Rice Syndrome," as the bacteria is classically contracted from fried rice dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for hours (such as at a buffet).

Left-over food stored at room temperature is the primary source of bacillus cereus poisoning outbreaks, specifically, but not limited to rice and pasta.

Don't leave this at room temperature!

Sources of Bacillus cereus

Particularly rice, pasta and leftovers, as well as sauces, soups, and other prepared foods that been left too long at room temperature.

Incubation period

  • Diarrheal: 6-15 hours
  • Emetic (vomiting): 30 minutes to 6 hours

Symptoms of Bacillus cereus poisoning

  • Diarrhea: Watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Emetic (vomiting): Nausea and vomiting

Illness duration

  • 24 hours

Prevention / precautions to take

Once food has been cooked, if it is to be stored for longer than 2 hours, keep it hot (over 60°C [140°F]) or refrigerate (below 4°C [40°F]). Ideally it should be promptly consumed.

See also

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