Storing Food Safety Guidelines
When storing leftovers, use airtight shallow containers for rapid cooling to prevent the growth of bacteria. Hot food placed in a large containers can take up to 24 hours to be cooled to 40°F. This means bacteria is growing in your homemade chili plus the entire refrigerator has heated up too (meaning germs are having a party in the milk, turkey slices, etc).
It is a good idea to label foods with a date and time. To reduce the chance of food poisoning, eat foods within four days of storing it.
Another option is to freeze the leftover, if you do not think you will eat it within the four days.
After you’ve eaten a great meal, place leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours. Leaving cooked food at room temperature for too long is an invitation for bacteria like Salmonella to grow in your food. Re-heating will not destroy the toxins and spores produced by these nasty bacteria.
You can’t see germs and sometimes it takes awhile before a bad smell develops.
Rule of thumb, eat leftovers within two to three days. After that, toss it.
Written by Maggie LaBarbera
Written on Mar 15, 2012
Last updated on Oct 29, 2013