Home > Public

Your Food and Nutrition Source

It's About Eating Right

In This Section

Latest Infographic

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act establishes strong nutrition policies for child nutrition programs.

Healthy Schools Raise Healthy Kids (Thumb)

View all infographics

Popular Diet Reviews

More Diet Reviews »
Calculate your BMI
Featured Product

Special Feature

More Info
Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, 3rd Ed. (Single Copy)

Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, 3rd Ed. (Single Copy)

This easy to read “survival guide” outlines essential information for people diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Are My Leftovers Still Good? Refrigerator Temperature Food Safety

Refrigerator SafetyThe refrigerator is an essential kitchen appliance we use daily. But, do you know what temperature to set your refrigerator or how long the leftovers stored in it can last? Keep refrigerated foods fresh and safe for consumption with these tips.

Setting the Temperature

  • Set your refrigerator temperature below 40°F. This keeps harmful bacteria from growing. Storing food in a refrigerator with temperatures higher than 40°F increases the likelihood of foodborne illness.
  • Temperatures inside a refrigerator can vary, especially from season to season. Control the temperature by keeping a refrigerator thermometer in the center of the middle shelf (not on the door). Check the thermometer often to be sure the temperature remains below 40°F.

Keeping It Clean

  • Sort through the contents of your refrigerator at least once a week. If the expiration date has passed or you think an item may be spoiled, throw it out.
  • Scrub down the inside of your refrigerator including shelves and drawers using a clean sponge and warm, soapy water. Rinse with clean water and then dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. Avoid using cleaners that may pass on unpleasant tastes to food or cause damage to surfaces.
  • Get rid of odors between cleanings by placing an opened box of baking soda in the back of the fridge. Change the box every three months.
  • Wipe up spills right away, especially juices from raw meat. Defrost meat on the bottom shelf in a covered container to reduce the chance of juices contaminating other foods.
  • Keep the front grill free of dust, which allows airflow to the condenser for more efficient cooling.
  • Clean the condenser coils with a brush or vacuum, unplugging the refrigerator first.

Safely Enjoying Leftovers

  • Refrigerate all leftovers promptly. Perishable leftovers should not stay out of refrigeration longer than two hours. In hot weather (90°F or above), this time is reduced to one hour.
  • Know how long leftovers can last. Check the reference chart below.



Keeps Up To

Cooked fresh vegetables 3 to 4 days
Cooked pasta 3 to 5 days
Cooked rice 1 week
Deli meat 5 days
- Ham, cooked and sliced
- Hot dogs, opened
- Lunch meat, prepackaged, opened
- Cooked beef, pork, poultry, fish and meat casseroles
- Cooked patties and nuggets, gravy and broth

3 to 4 days
1 week
3 to 5 days
3 to 4 days
1 to 2 days
Seafood, cooked 3 to 4 days
Soups and stews 3 to 4 days
Stuffing 1 to 2 days

Reviewed December 2013