Food Safety Tips For Leftovers And Takeout
Leftovers can be a valuable item for busy families. They can be used for quick and healthy lunches at the office as well as busy weeknight meals. Here are a few important tips for food handling and storage tips for in home prepared leftovers as well as take home leftovers.
- Place a thermometer in your refrigerator to ensure 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Refrigerate within two hours or discard the product.
- Place leftovers in a 2 inch or less container to ensure quick cooling.
COOLING YOUR FOODS
- It is a myth that large pots of soups, beans or other food products should be allowed to cool prior to placing them under refrigeration.
- The following cooling methods are recommended:
- Reduce the size of the containers and place under refrigeration uncovered until cooled to 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your pot or pan in an ice bath (surrounded by ice) and stir routinely before placing under refrigeration.
- Add ice as an ingredient for cooling (example: if a recipe calls for water add it in ice form for recipes such as soups.
- Cut large pieces of meat into smaller portions for proper cooling and separate them for proper cooling.
- For very large pots a cooling paddle can be utilized. This is recommended if you routinely cook large portions of food product.
- Take your food product from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 hours and from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees or below Fahrenheit within 4 hours.
DATE YOUR PRODUCTS
- Write the date that the food was prepared or the date of purchase on the container. Use the restaurants pen to date your leftovers prior to leaving the restaurant.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you discard all leftovers no more than 4 days after preparation and proper storage.
PROPERLY REHEAT ALL FOOD PRODUCTS
- Reheat all food products to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When using a microwave for reheating, be sure to stir the product to ensure that all portions of the product have reached the required 165 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.