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I've noticed quite a few packets of durum wheat semolina (supermarket own-brand dried pasta) has this warning. This applies to macaroni and spaghetti etc. but similar products from other supermarkets don't have this.

I've also seen it on raw cubed beef and sausages from other supermarkets in the UK.

While I can understand this warning on meat products, and would expect such a warning on storing/reheating rice (but haven't seen that many), it would seem more appropriate to give the appropriate storage/reheating advice than just a blanket, terse "Do not reheat". If taken literally, this would be goodbye to special fried rice, reheated casserole or lasagna.

Provided the dish was properly cooked, stored and reheated, I cannot think of any food safety risk by doing so (especially in the case of pasta). Is this just legal overkill, food presentation advice or marketing jargon to sell more product? Or am I missing some critical food safety factor here?

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    The Italian tradition has plenty of recipes to use leftover cooked pasta for instance in a frittata so I don't get it either – David P Aug 29 '19 at 16:33
  • I'm genuinely curious about that; care to share the brand ? – Max Aug 29 '19 at 17:07
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    My guess is legalCYA, but without more knowledge of the british supermarket industry, I can't say. FWIW, none of my pasta packaging says this (Italian pasta packaged for the US market). – FuzzyChef Aug 29 '19 at 19:51
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    Now, "do not microwave" would be a sensible warning, since microwaving dry pasta tends to set fire to it. – FuzzyChef Aug 29 '19 at 19:52
  • @Max - Cucina spaghetti, penne, tagliatelle, spaghetti from Aldi, Vitasia egg noodles from Lidl to name but a few. – Greybeard Aug 29 '19 at 22:18
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Consider this as not backed by authority, more opinion, but I believe this is a case of caution because once hydrated and warm pasta can become a prime breeding ground for bacteria. On reheating, you may well not get it high enough or high for long enough to kill any bacteria, and its density makes it even more difficult to remove any built up toxins those potential bad guys may have produced.

Now, is it a case of CYA? Yup, more than likely, but I know in the case of rice there are many reports of food poisoning from cold and re-warmed, and I would think it is possible with pasta as well. I still do it myself, but that is my choice. I have also never noticed packaging that said not to, so this might be a labeling requirement not adopted in the US.

As for things like fried rice made from cold rice, not sure that one really applies. To me that is cooking a new dish, not reheating and to me it seems like that is heating enough it should be safe. Thoroughly reheating a dish like lasagna to normal serving temperature, especially if the original dish was not left in the danger zone for an extended time would seem safe to me also. But those are opinions, not facts backed up by lab tests and it is possible UK health agencies have tested and do not agree.

ETA: Pasta Safety is a posting I found after stating my opinion, and it details the risk. Their claim is basically as long as it is refrigerated, 2-3 days should be safe, but not longer. Bacillus cereus bacteria is the sited culprit. Hmmm. I personally would say refrigerate promptly and the 2-3 days is likely conservative, but again, that is opinion not backed by tests.

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  • I'd say based on ample personal experience that fridge pasta is good for around a week, and generally gets visible mold before anything more subtle goes wrong with it. Evidence: I'm not already dead. – FuzzyChef Aug 29 '19 at 21:08
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    Admittedly, that's textbook survivor bias ;-) – FuzzyChef Aug 29 '19 at 21:08
  • Agree @FuzzyChef, on both comments. lol I have never had an issue at a week, and I have a pretty sensitive stomach. But I also tend to refrigerate promptly and such and cook al dente which seems like both would reduce risk. 2-3 days for me is overly cautious, but that is personal choice and I accept there may be a slight risk. – dlb Aug 30 '19 at 12:33

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