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We all know what expired food looks like, right? If we see mold growing on bread or fruit, it’s usually a grey, greenish color and that’s usually our cue to toss it out.

However, sometimes our grains, such as uncooked brown rice can be a little green in hue. But does that mean that it’s ready for the trash? Well, apparently, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to let it go in the bin at all.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to both rice brands, Mahatma and Carolina, if you’re questioning the green-looking grains inside brown rice bags there is no need to be alarmed.

As their FAQ pages explain, these grains are simply “immature kernels of rice, [which] have the same nutritional value as mature grains.” The reason that they get that color is because of chlorophyll, the same reason that other unripened food items, such as bananas or tomatoes, come out green.

Photo: flickr/Rob & Dani

PCC Community Markets, a Seattle-based food cooperative, has assured, the green grains most likely result from being harvested at the bottom of a stalk of rice since those grains normally take longer to mature.

The food cooperative even shared that seeing green grains in your brown rice is actually a good thing because it means that the manufacturers haven’t altered the rice in order to make the color more homogeneous.

Photo: pxfuel

While green doesn’t necessarily indicate your rice has gone bad, it doesn’t mean that your brown rice is infallible. It can still spoil, and a bad smell, insect activity, a slimy film, or mold, can all be indicators that your brown rice is bad.

Of course, mold won’t start to grow on rice unless it has been exposed to moisture, which is why you should keep it stored in a dry, sealed container.