That’s how long you can leave out your Thanksgiving leftovers

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The holidays are known for family time, traditional recipes, and the not-so-fun outbreaks of food poisoning if you don’t quickly refrigerate your leftovers.

Food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens bacteria is most common in November and December, according to the CDC.

Why? The bacteria grow on foods that have been left out at room temperature, and most of the outbreaks have been linked to turkey and roast beef.

“Foodborne illnesses are no joke,” Lisa Yakas, a senior project manager at NSF International, USA previously told TODAY.

Food poisoning symptoms can appear 6 to 24 hours after you eat and ruin some of your vacation time. How To Avoid It:

How Long Should Thanksgiving Food Be Outside? Less than 2 hours

Leftovers should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours. So after you’ve eaten your holiday meal, putting the food away should be your top priority, says Yakas.

“The dishes can wait, the food can’t,” she says.

When putting away leftovers, take the time to portion them into small containers, preferably airtight ones, says Yakas.

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Putting large amounts of food in a fridge or freezer is ineffective because it takes a long time for the food to cool, says Yakas.

How Long Is Cooked Turkey Good? Just a few days unless it’s frozen

Once the leftovers are stowed away in the refrigerator, you only have a few days to consume them before they become a safety hazard.

Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. If they are kept in a freezer, it will be three to four months.

It is best to put an expiration date on the groceries when you put them in, so you can keep track of when they are no longer safe, recommends Yakas.

This is especially true for food that you put in the freezer as it is difficult to remember how long food has been stored in the future.

What temperature should your food be? 165 degrees

Correctly putting away leftover food won’t keep you healthy if you don’t cook the food properly the first time.

Whether you are cooking the food for the first time or reheating it, just remember one number: 165 degrees.

The CDC recommends heating any leftovers to 165 degrees before consuming.

Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]


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