Leftover food is supposed to be handled carefully as the leftover food degrades in quality with time. It is important to keep track of the number of days the food has been stored or the condition of the item at the time of the use. US-FDA says that leftover food can be kept for four to five days. After this safe period of time, the chances of food poisoning increases. There is a way to keep leftover food if one knows that they would not be able to consume it within the specified period of time, the food should be freeze immediately.
Food poisoning — also called foodborne illness — is caused by harmful organisms, such as bacteria in contaminated food. Because bacteria typically don’t change the taste, smell or look of food, you can’t tell whether a food is dangerous to eat. So if you’re in doubt about a food’s safety, it’s best to throw it out. Most cases of food poisoning can be prevented with proper food handling. To practice food safety, quickly refrigerate perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs
The Dos with leftover food:
- Put away leftovers away as soon as possible: – Bacteria survive favourably in warm environments. The sooner you refrigerate or freeze your leftovers, the sooner bacteria growth will be slowed and the longer your leftovers will last.
- Food should be covered: – Do cover the food well as to prevent the food from exposure to the substance in the air. Also, the food uncovered in the refrigerator goes dry and this makes the food less hygienic. For freezing, best to use proper ‘freezer’ bags or zip lock bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Trust your instincts: – If something has a foul odour or doesn’t look the right colour or has mould or other nasty thing growing on it, it’s best to trust your senses and throw it out.
- Share the food: – It is not bad to give the guests a little takeaway package than forcing yourself to eat the same leftovers for the day.
- Do properly reheat the food before using it: – Just as low temperature is important minimising bacterial growth, high temperatures are the best way to ‘kill off’ any microbial growth that has managed to grow.
The Don’ts with leftover food:
- Do not consume if there is a feeling of unsafe thing: – If you feel that something is unsafe, there’s no point stressing yourself out and risking your health.
- Do not just throw away the food that is perfectly good: – It is not a rule to throw away food if it has passed the specified days of safety. If you know it’s been handled carefully and refrigerated promptly and it looks and smells fine, then in all likelihood, it will be safe.
- Do not leave things at room temperature for a longer period of time: – Low temperatures are really one of the most important parts of keeping food safe so I wanted to stress it again.