Leftovers and takeout require proper handling, both when you serve the food and when you pack it up to head home. Ensure the safety of your meal the first and second times around using these tips to heat, eat and repeat:
- Don't let bacteria shorten your leftovers' life. Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Date Your Doggie Bag
- Write the date of purchase on your carry-out container. Discard leftovers within three to five days.
Heat to Proper Temperatures
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure food reaches the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you are using a microwave, let food stand for one minute after heating before inserting the thermometer.
- If your microwave isn't equipped with a turntable, take extra precautions to cook leftover food throughout. Pause the timer and rotate food one-half turn midway through the heating time and give it a stir. This eliminates cold spots where bacteria can survive.
- After microwaving, let food sit one minute, then check the temperature with a meat thermometer.
Pizza Is a Perishable Food
- If pizza has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours, toss it.
Reviewed December 2012