Does Rice Turn Into Maggots? – What Happens if You Accidentally Eat Rice with Maggots

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When we are making a recipe or putting together several ingredients, we want to make sure that the ingredients are as clean as possible. One thing that is hard to control is insects and bugs on our fresh ingredients. Rice is not excluded from this, as maggots can grow on rice. Many people ask, does rice turn into maggots? Or do maggots somehow get to the rice in a different way?

In this article we will explore how maggots get to your rice and if it is the rice itself that is turning into the maggots. We will also explore what you can do about maggots in your rice and look at different ways of prevention.

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Maggots are insects that either take the form of larvae or a fly. These larvae can spread in food that is either uncooked or spoiled. We would never recommend that you eat any food that has living maggots in it. We would also recommend that you do everything you can to prevent maggots forming in your food. Maggots can be commonly found in food that is also fermenting or food that is dirty. It is often hard to make sure that your food does not contain maggots, especially if it is fresh food. Fresh food can contain maggots that hide and can not be seen by humans as they are very small.

cooking rice

What Do Rice Maggots Look Like?

If you are looking for signs of maggots on your rice, you will most likely be spotting Indianmeal moth larvae. The larvae will have a white to gray colored appearance but can also be shown in either orange, pink or slightly green. The larvae will be very small so it may be hard to see what they look like without getting up close.

The easiest way to describe what Indianmeal moth larvae look like is when comparing them to small worms that have a similar shape to a caterpillar.

indianmeal moth larvae

What Happens If You Eat Rice With Maggots?

What happens if you eat maggots in rice?

If you have accidentally eaten maggots in your rice, your rice will not taste nice. But that does not mean that you will become overly unwell.

If you have eaten a maggot that has been on food that has been spoiled or gone bad then you could experience food poisoning. Food poisoning can lead to serious illness and you could experience symptoms that can last for several days. These symptoms will show as upset stomach, vomiting, nauseous, diarrhea and stomach cramps. These symptoms, if they last for several days could also lead to dehydration, which is very serious. 

If you have eaten maggots on your spoiled food, it will be the spoiled food that causes this reaction rather than the maggots. If your food is not spoiled but you have discovered you have eaten maggots, ou will most likely not experience food poisoning symptoms.

Why Does Rice Turn Into Maggots

Rice can be prone to getting maggots. There are two reasons that can cause maggots to grow on rice.

The first reason is that there are larvae that are actually inside the rice. If the rice spoils or is left as a good temperature for them, they can then hatch and turn into maggots.

The second reason is that flies can walk on top of the surface of the rice if the rice is left uncovered. Once these flies are on top of the surface of the rice they can start to lay eggs on the rice itself. These eggs that the flies have laid then will hatch. Maggots will start to appear on the food days later.

If you are wondering why maggots are appearing even when you have tightly sealed the bowl of rice and placed it in the fridge, it may be that at one point the rice was not covered and the egg lay before it was covered.

pilaf

Does Old Rice Turn Into Maggots

If your rice has expired, it has the same likelihood of producing maggots as uncooked rice does. It depends how the rice is stored and if the rice has spoiled. If your old rice that has been cooked has started to grow mold, maggots could start to grow on it.

Does Cooked Rice Turn Into Maggots

All rice, no matter if it is cooked or uncooked, does contain larvae in it.

Room temperature is the most likely temperature that the larvae will start to hatch. Once the larvae hatch, then the larvae turn into maggots. The rice itself does not turn into maggots. Many even believe that the rice is still edible.

How Does Rice Turn Into Maggots

Rice does originally contain larvae, which is an active immature form of an insect. If your rice is stored at room temperature it will give the larvae in the rice the opportunity to hatch. This will result in the rice turning into maggots. 

How Long Does It Take For Rice To Turn Into Maggots

Maggot eggs are commonly laid when rice is moist. Or if the rice has turned moldy and has started to ferment.

If eggs have been laid then usually maggots will start to appear within 24 hours to 30 hours.

How Do You Prevent Maggots In Rice?

The initial way to prevent maggot growth in your rice is to make sure that you are storing your rice correctly.

To correctly store your rice to prevent maggots, you should keep the food in a tightly sealed container or bowl. This container should be made of metal, thick plastic or glass. It is best to not use airtight bags as maggots and other bugs can chew through the thinner plastic. It is also not wise to use cardboard boxes as maggots and other bugs can chew through cardboard as well as thinner plastic. 

If you have found signs of maggots on your uncooked rice, you can freeze the rice. Doing so will kill the maggots. Once you have bought the rice, to prevent maggot growth you can freeze the rice in its original packaging for four days. This’ll make sure to kill the larvae and any eggs due to hatch.

What Foods Turn Into Maggots?

If you are wondering what kind of food is at risk from maggots, rice is one hundred percent one to look out for and watch. Maggots normally hatch either in rotting or spoiled food, such as decaying matter and filth. They can spread quickly once the eggs have been laid. Some types of maggots can hatch up to 24 hours after the original egg has been laid.

The United States Food and Drug Administration stated that maggots are in a lot of foods as they tend to hide within the food. For example, the US FDA has said that 5 percent of a can of cherries are allowed to contain maggots or be contaminated with maggots as they are so hard to remove.

Maggots Can Grow On Rice In Two Different Ways

Maggots can grow on rice in two different ways. These make it hard to avoid them, especially if you want to store leftovers.

The first way that maggots end up in your leftover rice is that the grains themselves actually contain larvae. Once your rice is at room temperature for a long period or time, the larvae in the rice have the opportunity to hatch. This will result in the rice turning into maggots and your food being contaminated.

The second way maggots get to your rice is by grown adult flies landing on your rice when it is uncovered and laying eggs. This can happen in a couple of seconds and can go unnoticed. If the fly does land on your rice, lay eggs and you do not notice, even if you cover your rice securely the eggs can still hatch. Eggs from flies can hatch days after the egg has been laid or as quickly as 24 hours.

The best way to avoid maggot contamination on your rice is to first of all, not store too much leftover rice. It has the ability to spoil and make you unwell. Secondly, always store your rice in a tightly sealed bowl or container that is made out of either a metal or glass so that pests cannot access or chew their way through. Lastly, you fully prevent the rice from hatching the larvae at room temperature. Once you have bought your rice and brought it home, place it in the freezer for up to 4 hours to 8 hours. In these hours in the freezer the cold temperature will kill the larvae and eggs that have been laid. This will prevent an infestation.

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By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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