It can always cause a bit of a gag reflex when you open up your container of food and you end up finding hidden surprises! In this case, the surprises aren’t good! Most of the maggots found in rice or grains will be Indianmeal moths or weevils, not flies! These larvae are safe to eat and will not cause you to get sick. Doing this before a lockdown happens, or you go camping for a few months is a great idea as it will prevent an infestation from happening, failing to prepare is preparing to fail!
Does Rice Turn Into Maggots?
No, that would be silly! Rice definitely does not turn into maggots as maggots are the larvae of a fly and rice is a grain! So this is impossible, don’t worry your rice grains did not suddenly turn into maggots. The reason it may seem like your rice has suddenly turned into maggots is that rice grains and maggots are incredibly similar in both size and color! But this doesn’t mean your rice can suddenly start making fly larvae!
How Do Maggots Infest Rice?
The larvae found in rice were probably there before the food packaging process. Almost all the rice that you buy will have some small amount of larvae in it (this is acceptable as per the FDA regulations). This is virtually unavoidable due to how small these larvae really are. They are also very common and resilient pantry pests that can seemingly get in some bags that you thought were totally safe!
How To Get Rid Of Maggots In Rice?
If you notice live creepy, crawlies in your rice, just immediately throw out the rice, don’t think twice. Or if you have animals that can eat, give them to them, since they are tougher than humans. The best action you can do to avoid maggots in rice is:
- Eat the food within 1 month of purchase
- Kill the eggs before you store your food
Microwaving Food To Kill Insect Larvae
If you do plan on storing larvae-friendly food long-term (greater than 1 month), then microwaving it will do a decent job of killing most, if not all of the larvae in the bag. Studies have shown that microwaving food for 28 seconds at 500 watts is effective at getting rid of the larvae in the food.
This does not work for all food however, here are some foods that you should not microwave to kill the larvae.
- Foods for sprouting – This may destroy their ability to sprout.
- Cornmeal – Can be burned easily by the heat of the microwave.
- Wholegrains – Can decrease the amount of nutrition in the grain (but it is still edible)
- Pasta – Spots can form on the pasta as a result of the heat.
Heating Food To Kill Larvae
Studies have shown that heating the food in the oven at 54–66°C can be an effective way to kill the larvae in the bag.
Freezing Food In the Bag
Freezing food works as well, you can stick it in the freezer which is usually at 0°C, and this will kill insects, it may be best to stick the food in the freezer for 24-48 hours to ensure it is completely frozen.
What Happens If You Eat Rice With Maggots (Larvae)
Nothing! You’ve probably been eating them all your life without noticing them, especially if your family or culture eats a lot of rice. Usually, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If there was an issue with eating rice with maggots, it probably couldn’t be sold because it could cause a lot of problems.
How To Store Rice Properly
The best way to store rice for long-term prepping is:
- Immediately put the rice in the freezer when you get home (for 24-48 hours)
- Find a sealed airtight container you can trust
- Line the inside of the container with a Ziploc bag for a safety measure
- Clean your hands, the container, and the bag
- Pour the rice into the Ziploc bag close it, then seal the container.
Try to open the bag of rice as little as possible, this will lower your chances of getting any more rice or bacteria in the bag after you have already got rid of the larvae. If you want to be extra careful, try freezing the bag for 24-48 hours every 2-3 months to guarantee no new larvae can hatch (although we think this may be overkill).
How To Cook Rice Without Measuring Cups
An age-old method to cook rice without any kind of measuring cup is this:
- Pour the rice into a suitable cooking pot
- Pour water into the rice (touch rice with your index finger, and pour the water to the first knuckle of your finger
- Put a suitable lid on the pot
- Bring the water to a boil
- Once it is boiling, lower the temperature to a simmer
- Leave the pot for 20 minutes (starting the timer at the simmer)
Do not remove the lid once the cooking process has begun, many people make the mistake of doing this, but removing the lid will cause you to lose the heat that is used to cook the rice!
If you want to know more about cooking rice by using your finger to measure the water, please read this post.
As a side note, rice will take the same volume of water to cook, as the total volume of rice.
i.e. 500 grams of rice = 500 grams of water. 1 cup of rice = 1 cup of water!
This is a great quick and easy way to measure the rice without a standard measuring cup! You can even use the pot you are cooking the rice in to measure the rice and the water (just eyeball it or use something to mark the height of the rice).
When we first learned about maggots being in rice we were pretty grossed out too! But if you take the necessary steps to prevent it as much as possible then you can keep your food as clean as possible just like us! We would highly recommend sharing this article to your other friends and fellow meal preppers so they can keep their rice maggot-free as well!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there maggots in all bags of rice?
Most food is allowed to have a small number of animal droppings, dirt, and yes maggots!
What Happens If You Eat Maggots In Rice?
Nothing! Maggots are often found in rice to a certain degree and can be eaten safely!