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May 7, 2006 01:23 PM

Bugs in Rice-Is it still edible?

  • i

I have a giant bag of jasmine reice I bought a few months ago and it now has these tiny little gray bugs in it. Some are dead and others are alive and when I rinse my rice they float to the surface.

The weird thing is that I had one air-tight container for daily use in the kitchen and another one to store the larger quantity in the garage and both have the same bugs. This has never happened to me before with rice even in large quantities used over the period of several months (normally purchased at an asian market such as Ranch 99) so I assume there was something in the bag when I bought it.

Is this rice safe to eat after I rinse it and see no more bugs float up to the surface or should I try and take it back to Costo...would they even take it back considering I bought it so long ago?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. They are an annoyance, just rinse and use the rice. All grains have them, it is just storage that hatches them out. If grains, pasta, cereals,flour, mixes etc. are exposed to the right amount of heat you will have bugs. I have even had them hatch out in freshly ground new chili powder. At one time I thought I was being bright keeping crackers and cereals in the cupboard over my wall oven reasoning that the heat from the oven would keep them crisp. After I had to take the entire kitchen apart and all of the shelving out and get a q-tip to dig out the larvae from the shelf peg holes I almost learned my lesson. What I neglected to do is move the dog kibble from the cupboard next to the dishwasher. After learning, dog kibble is stored in my garage which is always cool being on the lowest level and birdseed is kept in a covered container down there too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      I had done the same thing - keeping grains in the cupboard above my stove hood. Now all I keep there is glassware that I don't use very often.

      To get back to the original issue - yes, everything has bugs. I wash rice well and if there are any dead bugs I rinse them away. I have never had a dead bug corpse show up in cooked rice, because even a live bug will float to the top of a pot of water. I do sometimes have to get the last bits out of the simmering pot before I put the top on.

      I stop short at bugs in flour. This happens infrequently, and when it does, I toss the flour.

    2. i had the same problem. i read that a few bay leaves placed inside the container of rice will keep those little critters away. it seems to have worked and now i put the bay leaves in all of my different rice containers. hope this helps.

      3 Replies
      1. re: acme
        Ms. Plaza Street

        I do the same thing for all sorts of grains, including oatmeal. This is an old trick of my mother's.

        1. re: acme

          I do the same. Bay leaves are a cheap and effective answer. I put it in cupboards, in the flour, bisquick etc-no bugs

          1. re: acme

            I've been using bay leaves for years but recently they have no effect on keeping the bugs away. Wonder if I need to buy a new package of bay leaves? They are dried, so they become less effective over time?

          2. w
            Wayne Keyser

            Let's see ... you rinse the rice, and rinse and rinse until no more bugs float out.

            Then you cook the rice. And when you serve it, it's MOSTLY free of bugs. Oops - there's one or two in the middle of (what would have been) your next forkful.

            How do you feel about the rice, and about your whole dinner after that? It's either going to cast a pall over the whole dinner ("Don't be silly Mom, Sis, Honey ... it's only just a FEW bugs!") or else it's the darnedest new diet aid around (cook something cheap, 'cause you won't be eating it, and it won't look any better the next day.)

            Trash the rice and buy somewhere else next time.

            1. Even though bugs add protein...yuck! I would take it back. Don't know from experience but I read on this board that Costco had a reasonable return policy. (I've also read that putting grains in the freezer for 24 hrs after purchase obviates this problem--I end up just storing them there--they last longer).

              1. Not to make you more squeamish, but about 20 yrs ago, there was a special on a PBS station about grains and the way they are fumigated with fairly harsh chemicals as they go into storage, and when packaged. It said the practice was virtually universal in this country. Otherwise, when you opened any grain pkg, it would be infested with weevils, etc.

                Grocery stores also regularly spray their cereal isles, because of eggs hatching in packages. Yet another reason to shop at a health food store, where presumably they would not do this.

                5 Replies
                1. re: toodie jane

                  Oh no no no!!!!!!!!! My local co-op so called health food store is where some of my worst weevil/miller infestations have come from. Unless you keep any dried bulk and boxed grain/cereal products from them in the freezer and in tightly closed containers you are going to have major infestation problems

                  1. re: MZG

                    I think the scientific name for these insects is "co-op moths" :-)

                    If your grain and flour hasn't been harshly fumigated during
                    processing, you're going to have some bugs in there. If you
                    think about it in a certain way, it's the lack of bugs that's

                  2. re: toodie jane

                    If I've ever heard an urban myth, this is it:
                    "Grocery stores also regularly spray their cereal isles, because of eggs hatching in packages."

                    That aside people, food is prone to pests. Rice and grains in particular. Storing grains properly alleviates most concerns: keep them in a cool place; keep open grains and pasta, or grains and pasta not sold in airtight packaging, in sealed containers; and only buy a quantity you are likely to use up relatively quickly.

                    The bugs that appeared in the original poster's rice would probably be a welcome addition in some parts of the world. Here where we like our food hermetic, just rince them off and you'll be fine. The worst that would happen is that your guests would get a little extra protein. Oh, the horror! In the future you can prevent it by storing the grains properly, and not buying more than you will use in a reasonable time.

                    Food is not the enemy.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      Try putting bay leaves in the container. A friend swears they repel the little creatures.

                      1. re: DanaB

                        ....of course, he could have been lying, but this spray info came to me from a friend who worked the night stocking crew at a local chain grocery....

                        and, yes, been freezing grain and/or using bay leaves since the 70's. Store in airtight glass jars in pantry. Bugs don't bother me, unless they make a mess in the cupboards. Extra protein!