Does Rice Go Bad

Yes, It can go bad. Being a staple ingredient in many global cuisines, rice is a common food in many households, especially in Asian regions. However, properly stored dry white rice can last up to 2 years, while brown rice can last up to 6 months. Signs of bad rice include mold, bugs, water, and discoloration.

5 Warning Signs That Your Rice Gone Bad

does rice go bad

Being a high calory food and staple carbohydrate source for billions of people, white rice can make an excellent addition to any household. Do you know it is the main food source for more than half of the population of world? An average family should store at least 300 Ibs of rice for one-year purpose considering 25-60 Ibs of rice for one person.

Even though the shelf life of rice can range from 1-2 years, you should still be aware of the warning signs that indicate your rice has expired. (1)  If you wish to know more about these signs, take a look at the following points mentioned below.

1. Mold

If the rice contains visible mold, then you should throw it out right away and consider it expired.

2. Bugs

If by chance, you notice the presence of insects or bugs in rice, then you must discard the rice and avoid consuming it.

3. Water damage

It can also be damaged by water or moisture, so before consuming rice, check for any sour smell and rancid taste. 

4. Discolouration

Take a closer look into the texture of the rice and if you notice any change in rice colour, then discard it immediately. 

5. Bad smell

Freshly cooked rices will have a soft texture and pleasant smell while expired rice will emit a sour smell. 

Tips To Store Rice

It is a staple food for millions of people on earth, making it an essential agricultural item which requires proper modes of harvest and post-harvest methods. The crop is usually seasonal and hence it is of utmost importance for people to be aware of the best practices of storing and preserving it properly. Check out the following tips to increase the longevity of the product

  • Cool and dry: It should be stored in a cool and dry place, preferably at room temperature. The ideal temperature to store white rice is declared to be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or even below. Rice stored in oxygen-free containers can be stored for up to 30 years. (1) 
  • Airtight container: It should be stored in an airtight container that keeps out dust, moisture and other contaminants,(3) which can lead to spoilage.
  • Away from sunlight: It should be stored in a dark place or away from direct sunlight, as exposure to light can cause it to degrade and lose its nutrients.
  • Keep away from pests: It should be stored away from any pests, such as mice or insects, that may contaminate it. Use a pest-proof container or store it in a sealed bag.
  • Properly labelled: It’s important to label the storage container with the type of rices and the date it was stored. This will help you keep track of how long the rices has been stored and when it needs to be used or replaced.

What Happens If You Use Expired Rice ?

It is the staple carbohydrate source for billions of people all across the world, so extra care should be taken when preserving and storing rices for consumption. Fungi contamination is the main reason for the deterioration of rice as the mycotoxins released by the fungi induces food poisoning, liver damage, dyspnea.

The increased mold contamination also leads to the reduction of certain fatty acids and results in the unpleasant or unfresh odour in the rices. (4) Expired rices also leads to the growth of a harmful bacteria called Bacillus cereus which is responsible for two types of gastrointestinal diseases: emesis and diarrhea. (5)

 Eating expired rices may also cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. In severe cases, it can also lead to dehydration and organ damage. It’s best to discard any rices that has passed its expiration date to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.

Factors That Cause Rice To Go Bad

does rice go bad
  • Moisture: The presence of moisture promotes bacterial growth and can cause mould in rice.
  • Temperature: It should be stored in a cool and dry place, as exposure to higher temperatures can cause an excessive reduction in the water content of the rice which further affects the protein, lipid and ash contents. (2)
  • Exposure to air: Air oxidizes the oils in It causing them to become rancid.
  • Insects and pests: Always inspect the container on a regular basis and check for insects or pests. They can contaminate rices and cause it to spoil or go bad.
  • Length of storage: If the rice is properly stored and sealed, then it can last upto 30 years. However, if the rice has been opened, then the shelf life lasts till 2 years.(1) The longer the rice is stored, the more it degrades and loses quality.


Q1. How long can you keep uncooked rices?
Ans. Uncooked rice can be kept for up to two years in a cool, dry, and airtight container.

Q2. Does rice go bad after cooked?
Ans. Yes, cooked rices can go bad if it’s left at room temperature for too long. It’s recommended to store cooked rices in the refrigerator and consume it within 3-4 days.


  1. Utah State University: Storing White Rice | USU 
  2. Rice Drying, Storage and Processing: Rice Drying, Storage and Processing: Effects of Post-Harvest Operations on Grain Quality
  3. USARICE: Storing Uncooked Rice
  4. NCBI: Effects of different storage conditions on the metabolite and microbial profiles of white rice 
  5. National library of medicine: Survival during cooking and growth from spores of diarrheal and emetic types of Bacillus cereus in rice

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