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Thread: OT: Eating 5 Day Old Pasta Can Kill You

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Default OT: Eating 5 Day Old Pasta Can Kill You

    Not directing this at anyone in particular, but...

    https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-...e-can-kill-you


    Eating 5-Day-Old Pasta or Rice Can Actually Kill You. Here's How

    JACINTA BOWLER 31 JAN 2019
    If meat is left out on the counter for too long, we all know we need to throw it out. But what about rice or pasta?

    Although that carby goodness might seem harmless after sitting on the bench for a bit, you'll probably think twice about it once you hear about the bacterium Bacillus cereus.

    It's not a particularly rare germ. B. cereus will happily live wherever it can – soil, food, or in the gut.

    "The known natural habitats of B. cereus are wide-ranging, including soil, animals, insects, dust and plants," Anukriti Mathur, a biotechnology researcher at the Australian National University, explained to Science Alert.

    "The bacteria will reproduce by utilising the nutrients from the food products [..] including rice, dairy products, spices, dried foods and vegetables."

    Some strains of this bacterium are helpful for probiotics, but others can give you a nasty bout of food poisoning if given the ability to grow and proliferate - such as when you store food in the wrong conditions.

    The worst scenarios can even bring death.

    In 2005, one such case was recorded in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology - five children in one family got sick from eating four-day-old pasta salad.

    According to the case study, pasta salad was prepared on a Friday, taken to a picnic on Saturday. After coming back from the picnic it was stored in the fridge until Monday evening, when the kids were fed it for dinner.

    That night the children began vomiting, and were taken to hospital. Tragically, the youngest child died; another suffered from liver failure but survived, and the others had less severe food poisoning and could be treated with fluids.

    "B. cereus is a well-known cause of food-borne illness, but infection with this organism is not commonly reported because of its usually mild symptoms," the researchers explain.

    "A fatal case due to liver failure after the consumption of pasta salad is described and demonstrates the possible severity."

    While these deaths are mercifully rare, they have been recorded in the literature more than once. This week the news highlighted another old case published in 2011, about a 20-year-old student in Belgium who would prep his meals for the week – on that fateful occasion, it was spaghetti with tomato sauce.

    He'd cooked the pasta five days earlier and would heat it up together with sauce. That day, he accidentally left his food on the kitchen bench for an unspecified amount of time. After diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and profuse vomiting, he died later that night.

    A reply to this case study highlighted two more cases of young people who suffered liver failure and died from B. cereus - an 11-year-old who died after eating Chinese noodles, and a 17-year-old who died after eating four-day-old spaghetti.

    Now, before you swear off pasta for life, we need to stress that most people who get sick with B. cereus do not end up having liver failure. Usually, it's a pretty mild case of food poisoning.

    "It is important to note that B. cereus can cause severe and deadly conditions, such as sepsis, in immunocompromised people, infants, the elderly, and pregnant women," says Mathur.

    "[Most] affected individuals get better over time without any treatment. These individuals do not go see a doctor to receive a diagnosis," and therefore they are under reported.

    But how can it cause such severe food poisoning, and is there anything we can do?

    B. cereus has a bad habit of secreting dangerous toxins in food. Some of these toxins are really hard to kill with the heat your regular microwave would deliver.

    For example, one of the toxins which causes vomiting in humans (called an emetic toxin), can withstand 121C (250F) for 90 minutes. And that's not the only toxin you'll find in its arsenal.

    "Our immune system recognises a toxin [haemolysin BL] secreted by B. cereus, which leads to an inflammatory response," Mathur explains, talking about a research study on the bacterium she co-authored last year.

    "Our research study shows that the toxin targets and punches holes in the cell, causing cell death and inflammation."

    Her team also identified two ways we can help the body neutralise the effect of haemolysin BL, therefore stopping the death march of B. cereus. The methods involve either blocking the activity of the toxin, or reducing the inflammation caused by it.

    Although their approach is still in the early stages of research, the team hopes that these techniques could even be used in other toxin-producing bacteria, such as E. coli.

    But most importantly – keep your food in the fridge and practice good kitchen hygiene.

    "It is important for people to wash their hands properly and prepare food according to safety guidelines," says Mathur.

    "Further, heating left-over food properly will destroy most bacteria and their toxins."

    The research has been published in Nature Microbiology.
    Last edited by SuzE-Q; 01-31-2019 at 10:20 AM.
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    Distinguished Community Member Howie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Did I see "Howie" written at the top of this report? Did you know I ate that pasta until 2 days ago? I think the big difference is whether it was reheated on a stovetop, or reheated using a microwave.

    A microwave penetrates every molecule, and acts upon it to make it vibrate, and that action makes it rub against the adjoining molecules, and creates heat. That heat kills anything harmful.

    I couldn't live without my microwave, probably literally speaking. But I thank you for presenting that info.
    Evolution spans the Universe.

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Some people might want to rethink their cooking and food storage habits.

    Back when I did pasta more often, I never refrigerated leftovers of it. If pasta was going to be on the menu that day, I would take out enough for a single serving and boil it. Only a slight amount of extra effort, and the pasta could be eaten freshly cooked. It's not such a big deal to fill a large pan with water, bring it to a boil, add salt if you add salt, throw in the pasta, give it a couple of stirs while it boils furiously for 8 minutes, and then drain the water off.

    If you're making pasta salad, you might want to chill it for a couple of hours before adding the other stuff.

    Handling that amount of boiling water, moving a pan of it to the sink to drain it, can be risky but it's possible if you're careful and don't get distracted by anything else, and keep any cats from being underfoot at the time.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Howie, this scares me for you.
    Virginia

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    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howie View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Did I see "Howie" written at the top of this report? Did you know I ate that pasta until 2 days ago? I think the big difference is whether it was reheated on a stovetop, or reheated using a microwave.

    A microwave penetrates every molecule, and acts upon it to make it vibrate, and that action makes it rub against the adjoining molecules, and creates heat. That heat kills anything harmful.

    I couldn't live without my microwave, probably literally speaking. But I thank you for presenting that info.
    From the article:

    B. cereus has a bad habit of secreting dangerous toxins in food. Some of these toxins are really hard to kill with the heat your regular microwave would deliver.
    Last edited by SuzE-Q; 01-31-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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  11. #6
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agate View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Some people might want to rethink their cooking and food storage habits.

    Back when I did pasta more often, I never refrigerated leftovers of it. If pasta was going to be on the menu that day, I would take out enough for a single serving and boil it. Only a slight amount of extra effort, and the pasta could be eaten freshly cooked. It's not such a big deal to fill a large pan with water, bring it to a boil, add salt if you add salt, throw in the pasta, give it a couple of stirs while it boils furiously for 8 minutes, and then drain the water off.

    If you're making pasta salad, you might want to chill it for a couple of hours before adding the other stuff.
    You make some good points, agate. While I don't make it often, I typically make enough for a few days and microwave it, like Howie. Because I boil the pasta, then mix it with the sauce, veggies, etc. before eating, it's all together in the fridge for leftovers.

    But, I think I'll stop doing that and make fresh pasta each night, then mix it with the sauce and stuff I made the first day.
    Please Note that my posts may have been arbitrarily altered by a Moderator and may not reflect my original content.

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  13. #7
    Distinguished Community Member Howie's Avatar
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    Cool

    Well, I'll be safe this coming month. I'll be eating the Compleat's dinners all month. A variety of foods. Like the Bible says,"Man does not live by pasta alone".
    Evolution spans the Universe.

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    With very few exceptions, I don't keep anything more than 3 days in my refrigerator. It means I cook just a little at a time, but already having a compromised immune system, I just don't take chances. I have a freezer, so when I shop I can buy the larger cheaper cuts of meat, but then I them....or package them...in single or double servings. That way I can just pull out what I need for that particular meal. Pasta already mixed with meat/sauce can be frozen, the same way -- in containers or zip bags, then thawed simply by setting in the sink and running hot water over the package. Then re-heated in the microwave.

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