Who doesn't love fried rice? It's a simple and delicious meal that fills you up and leaves you satisfied.
You would think that not a lot could go wrong with this popular dish, but if it's not prepared right, it could land you in the hospital.
That's what happened to Texas woman Germaine Mobley after she fell ill when she ate fried rice at a restaurant outside Dallas.
She told Inside Edition that she felt "very, very sick" during her drive home, and "started having problems breathing."
The restaurant, Asian King Buffet in Waxahachie, has denied that Mobley got sick at their location, but the 62-year-old woman begs to differ.
Mobley spent eight days in intensive care, and now she hopes her story warns others about the dangers of "fried rice syndrome."
So What Is "Fried Rice Syndrome?"
When fried rice dishes are left sitting at room temperature for hours, the bacteria, known as bacillus cereus, starts to form.
According to investigations done by Inside Edition, many professional chefs let rice cool at room temperature to prevent clumping when other ingredients are added later.
“Often we will cook batches of rice, we will leave them out at room temperature to cool,” Celeste Rogers, a culinary expert, explained. “It is that period of time that we need to watch. We have a max of six hours to cool that rice.”
Mobley’s attorney, Kathryn Knotts, told the Dallas News that her client's story should be a warning for others.
“’Fried rice syndrome’ sounds like a joke, but it’s very serious,” she said. "I remember going, 'I've never even heard of this.'
She wasn't sure what could even really be done, she just wanted this to not continue to happen to other people."
How To Avoid Getting Sick
Anyone who has been affected by food poisoning knows that they never want to experience that again.
Last year, I got food poisoning from fried rice that was sitting out too long, and I've been scared to eat rice at restaurants ever since.
This story isn't meant to make you say goodbye to that delicious grain forever, but you should be aware of how long a certain food has been sitting at room temperature.
This can be hard to assess at a buffet, but don't be shy to ask one of the chefs.
In terms of preventing yourself from getting sick at home, but still being able to cool rice quickly to get that perfect fried rice dish, Rogers has a piece of advice.
“To cool it quickly, we are going to get it on a flat surface so that it has more surface area to cool off,” she said.