As we enjoy our most food-oriented holiday, nutritionists and food safety experts recommend that particular care be taken to ensure that leftovers — whether kept for later meals or dispatched home with guests — don’t become a catalyst for the pain, vomiting, and diarrhea that afflicts some 400,000 Americans annually on Thanksgiving.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has offered a simple formula “2 hours — 2 inches — 4 days” for ensuring Thanksgiving food safety:
• Two hours: You may be tempted to stay at the table chatting and digesting, but all leftovers need to be in the refrigerator within two hours.
• Two inches: Don’t overload food containers. Fill them only to a depth of two inches, which will allow rapid chilling of the contents.
• Four days: Eat refrigerated leftovers within three to four days, or freeze if keeping longer.
Leaving food in the temperature danger zone of 40° F to 140° F for more than two hours is a dangerous practice. However, bacteria can grow and multiply every 10 minutes in the ‘super danger zone’ between 70° F and 130° F, making cooling quickly an important ingredient in preventing food borne illness.
If the centerpiece of the meal is a turkey, most experts advise that the meat be removed from the bone before storage and placed in meal-sized containers. Stuffing should be stored separately, and is generally considered safer when cooked outside the bird.
A final note of caution: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Wishing you a happy holiday season.
Excerpted from MedPage Today: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/PreventiveCare/29869?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyHeadlines&utm_source=WCemail@example.com&mu_id=