You"ve eaten all you can possibly eat in ~ Thanksgiving dinner, and also there"s tho plenty the food left. It"s a difficulty so typical that specialists have linked holiday leftovers come a seasonal increase in food poisoning cases.

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The Centers for disease Control and Prevention reports that outbreaks of a bacteria that causes food poisoning happen most often in November and also December. Plenty of of those outbreaks have been connected to common holiday foodstuffs such as turkey and roast beef.

And if for plenty of people food poisoning is a short-lived discomfort, for delicate members of your family – such as the young or the elderly – it can be life-threatening.


“Food-borne illnesses are no joke,” Lisa Yakas, a senior project manager at NSF International, said USA TODAY. The organization establishes health standards and also certifications because that food, water and consumer products.

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Here"s how to protect yourself and also your family:

Store the Thanksgiving leftovers quickly

The holiday season spike in food poisoning outbreaks report by the CDC occurs since of a bacteria the grows in cooked foods left at room temperature.

The key to avoiding such outbreaks: put your leftovers far quickly.

Leftovers shouldn"t it is in left at room temperature for longer than two hours. Therefore after you"re excellent eating your holiday meal, getting the food put away must be a priority, Yakas says.

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

When you"re placing away leftovers, take the moment to portion them the end into tiny containers, preferably people that room airtight, Yakas says.

Putting huge masses the food right into a refrigerator or freezer is ineffective because it bring away a long time for the food to cool, Yakas says.

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Don"t eat old Thanksgiving leftovers

Once the leftovers are put away in the refrigerator, you have only a few days come eat them prior to they become a safety risk.

If stored in a refrigerator, leftovers have the right to stay an excellent for three to 4 days. If they"re save on computer in a freezer, it"s three to 4 months.

It"s ideal to brand the food with an expiration date when you put it away, to aid you keep track of when it"s no longer safe to eat, Yakas recommends.

That"s specifically true of food that you placed in the freezer, together it"s tough to remember how long food has actually been save on computer months into the future.

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Cook (and reheat) the leftovers correctly

Putting far leftovers appropriately won"t store you healthy if girlfriend don"t chef the food properly the very first time.

There"s only one number come remember even if it is you"re cooking the food the an initial time or reheating it: 165º.