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HOLIDAY LEFTOVERS - SAFE TO EAT?
The holidays are over, now is it safe to eat our leftovers?
The CDC reports that every year 1 out of 6 Americans become ill because of something they ate, to read a blog post about this, Click here
First of all, To cover the obvious,
- anything not frozen from thanksgiving is a strong no =)
- we need to cool our food in the refridgerator, after meals, and put it into shallow Tupperware / containers that are clean and covered.
- food needs to be cooked the right way first time ( separate raw meat and veggies)
Elizabeth Scott, is an co-director of Simmons College's Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community. and assistant professor at the school.
Ppl in general tend to think that vegetarian dishes do not have to make it in the fridge in two hours. A microbe called Bacillus cereus has been associated with dried foods like peas, beans and rice, says Scott. When the bacteria experience environmental stress — as with cooking – they form protective spores. “You might cook up a rice dish by boiling rice to a good high temperature, and it’s safe to eat at that time,” says Scott. But if you leave it out at room temperature, those dormant spores can germinate into the potentially dangerous bacteria.
“They can grow in very large numbers and release a toxin into the food,” she says. And contaminated food can cause nausea, cramps and diarrhea if consumed.
(Leftover breads and baked goods like cookies don’t need to be refrigerated unless they include undercooked egg products.)
Even refrigerated leftovers should be eaten within two or three days, Scott says. “There’s this misconception that if you throw it into the fridge again it’s endlessly safe,” she says. Not true — the cool temperatures don’t kill most bacteria, but just stop or slow their growth. If your plans are to be eating the remains of your New Year’s Eve dinner the following weekend, freeze them instead, she says.
When it comes to reheating, it’s safest just to do it once, Scott says — don’t make leftovers of your leftovers. Aim to reheat food to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Scott recommends an instant-read thermometer as a good kitchen tool.
Check for another post this Thursday!