I recently heard from a friend about “bacteria in room-temperature cooked rice”. It was news to me, and for years I’ve often reheated plain boiled rice. Now it seems the BBC is stirring the idea into a nascent panic. But, hang on, let’s first take a look at the actual number of cases in the UK. In…

“England and Wales between 1993-1999, of over 1093 foodborne [illness] outbreaks with a known causative agent, [only] 2% were caused by B. cereus” (Source: “Bacillus cereus and other Bacillus spp in foodstuffs”, The European Food Safety Authority Journal, 2005, 175, pp 1-48)

Meaning: only an average of 3.12 cases per year in the UK. Sadly it looks to me like the emerging “killer rice” meme is yet another example of a society that eschews rationality and data, in favour of knee-jerk emotion and fear.