Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- So, the guests are stuffed and the stuffing bowl is only half full. What now?
Health experts recommend you don’t wait too long to pack away your Thanksgiving feast (for enjoyment at a later date). If leftovers are left out for more than two hours, the best thing to do is chuck them. Germs love living at room temperature. The “danger zone” is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the bacteria that cause food borne illnesses can’t necessarily be smelled or tasted.
“We always have the delicious leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner, and if you’re reheating the food, make sure you reheat them to about 165 for safety.” Amanda Ruddy, the Supervising Environmental Health Specialist at Humboldt County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advises.
This applies to all leftovers, all the time. Experts recommend you use a food thermometer to make sure your food reaches 165 degrees. Gravies and sauces should be brought to a boil before they’re consumed.
Sealing out bacteria is also key. Make sure your mashed potatoes and yams are sealed to keep out any dangerous germs. Once packed away, your food must be eaten within 3-4 days. If you opt to freeze food, then it can be safe to consume for up to 6 months. Re-freezing is also okay. Just remember, every time you reheat those holiday treats they need to be at least 165 degrees inside.
Check out this chart from the USDA for more guidance on the minimum internal temperatures your food should reach before you say “bon appetit!”: http://bit.ly/2gB1RI5