Food Survey Reports 2005-2006

Cooked Rice Survey Report

July-September 2006


Incidences of rice-associated food poisoning have been linked to the practice of preparing bulk rice in advance, in anticipation of subsequent need. Fried rice is a leading cause of Bacillus cereus emetic-type food poisoning in Australia. B. cereus is frequently present in uncooked rice, and heat-resistant spores may survive cooking.

If cooked rice is subsequently held at room temperature, surviving spores will germinate into vegetative forms. The vegetative forms will multiply, these forms may then produce a heat-stable toxin and this low molecular weight toxin can survive brief heating, such as stir frying.1 3

The purpose of this survey was to establish the microbiological quality of fried rice, sampled at the point of sale from a wide range of takeaway premises in the ACT. The tests E. coli, Coagulase positive Staphylococcus, Listeria moncytogenes, Salmonella sp. and B. cereus were performed to determine the microbial quantity of fried rice


Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food (FSANZ) Guidelinesfor the microbiological examination of Ready-To-Eat (RTE) Foods2 , would consider Fried Rice as a Ready-to-eat Food and identify four categories of microbiological quality ranging from satisfactory to potentially hazardous for this food. Table 1 below details the Draft guideline categories. This reflects both the high level of microbiological quality that is achievable for ready-to-eat foods in Australia and New Zealand and indicates

Cooded Rice Survey Report July-September 2006

Ready-to-eat survey report - Microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods

July 2005-June 2006


Determine the bacteriological status of ready-to-eat food products available on the ACT market.

Determine the compliance of these products to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Draft Guidelines for the Microbiological Examination of Ready-to-Eat Foods.


"Ready-to-Eat" (RTE) food is food that is ordinarily consumed in the same state as that in which it is sold or distributed and does not include nuts in the shell and whole, raw fruits and vegetables that are intended for hulling, peeling or washing by the consumers." 1

Sandwiches, rolls, stir-fries, baked goods as well as various other RTE foods are widely available in approximately 250 of the 450 registered food establishments in the ACT. Due to the diverse nature and popularity of these foods it was considered prudent to perform ongoing surveys on these products in conjunction with the Environmental Health Section Premises Auditing Program of high-risk food producing establishments. See appendix A for a comparison with previous years.

Ready to Eat Survey Report 2005-2006