Some advice to safely store before reheating and eating
For some people, leftovers can be one of the best parts of the Thanksgiving dinner. But those leftovers can be dangerous if not handled properly. More than half of the food poisoning outbreaks linked to turkey are caused by improper cooling, not cooking, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy organization. Bacteria can grow in fully-cooked food that is left out too long or is not chilled thoroughly.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests the 2-2-4 rule to stop bacterial growth on leftovers:
2 hours: Move the meal from the oven to the feast to the refrigerator in two hours or less.
2 inches: Store refrigerated food at a shallow depth - about two inches - to speed chilling.
4 days: Eat refrigerated leftovers in four days or less. Freeze leftovers that will be kept longer.
When should you discard something to ensure that no one gets sick from contamination? Here are some guidelines on when food should be discarded due to possible contamination, according to Tim Dorian, AMERIND Risk Safety Specialist:
Food must be discarded if it has not been cooled or heated to the appropriate temperature within the time required for safety. If the freezer, refrigerator, hot plate or warming oven fails and the temperature of the food is in the danger zone, then the food must also be discarded. (Between 45° and 140°F or 7° to 60°C is the danger zone in which foods are most likely to become contaminated by germs. Additionally, 165°F or 74°C is the minimum temperature food must be reheated.)
Also dispose of food that is in a container or package that is not labeled or dated or if it is past the expiration date.
Food should also be discarded if it has become unsafe or adulterated, such as if something unnecessary has been added. It should be discarded if you suspect that bacteria is growing in the food.
Dispose of any ready-to-eat food that may have been contaminated by a sick person. Also dispose of food that has been contaminated by someone through contact with hands, sneezing, coughing, or other means.
You may have heard the old saying, “When in doubt, throw it out.” Adhere to that gut feeling if you suspect something went bad.
Throwing out food is a difficult choice but keeping you and your family safe and healthy with proper food handling during the holiday season will help bring peace of mind—and less trips to the bathroom. They will thank you for it.
About AMERIND Risk
AMERIND Risk was founded 30 years ago by more than 400 tribes who united and pooled their resources to create AMERIND Risk to keep money within Indian Country. AMERIND Risk provides employee benefits, and property, liability and workers compensation insurance for tribes, tribal governments, tribal businesses and individual property coverage. It is the only 100%, tribally-owned and operated insurance solutions provider in Indian Country. In May of 2016, AMERIND launched a new business line AMERIND Critical Infrastructure (ACI) which will help tribes obtain high-speed internet. To learn more about Tribes Protecting Tribes or for an insurance quote, go to AMERINDRisk.org.