How long can leftovers be stored safely in the fridge?
Answer by Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. Be sure to eat them within this time. After that, the risk of food poisoning increases. If you do not believe that you can eat leftovers within four days, freeze them immediately.
Food poisoning – also known as food-borne illnesses – is caused by harmful organisms such as bacteria in contaminated food. Since bacteria usually do not change the taste, smell, or appearance of food, you can not tell if a food is dangerous to eat. So if you have doubts about the safety of a food, it's best to throw it out.
Fortunately, most cases of food poisoning can be prevented by proper food handling. To practice food safety, you quickly cool perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs quickly. Do not allow them to sit for more than two hours at normal room temperature or for more than one hour at temperatures above 90 ° C (32 ° C)
Uncooked foods, such as cold salads or sandwiches, should be eaten immediately or refrigerated. Their goal is to minimize the time in which a food is in the "danger zone" between 40 and 140 ° C (4 to 60 ° C), when bacteria can multiply rapidly.
If you want to eat food leftovers, reheat the stove, in the oven or in the microwave until the internal temperature reaches 74 ° C. Since they may not get hot enough, slow cookers and scrubbing are not recommended for warming up leftovers.
Release date: 2015-07-30