By Meg Butler

Because it retains its natural fatty acids and oils, brown rice has a much shorter shelf life than white rice. Brown rice keeps for no more than six months. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to tell how long your rice was sitting on the shelf before you bought it. It is easy to tell if brown rice has gone bad. Fresh brown rice grains have shiny surfaces and their packages are free of dust. Any other qualities in your brown rice may be a sign that it is time to throw it away.

Brown uncut rice
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Brown rice lasts a few months, while white rice can stay good for years.

Step 1

Open the rice container and smell the contents. If it has a sour smell, like rancid oil, it is bad.

Step 2

Sift through the rice and look for visible mold, bugs, insect eggs or foreign matter. If you find these, the rice is bad.

Step 3

Feel the rice. If it is dusty or oily, it is past its prime and no longer good.