ZANESVILLE, Ohio – For many, holidays are a time of family, festivity and food, which is a combination that can lead to excess.
The extra food, often called leftovers, is usually re-served and consumed over the following days. Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist in training Dalton Kirkbride explains how the improper handling of leftovers can lead to contamination and illness.
“Any time something’s prepped or cooked and it’s ready to eat, it can last up to seven days,” Kirkbride said. “The quality might not be there at the seven days but you’ll be safe to eat that food within that time period.”
Leftovers that needed to be originally cooked to 165 degrees should also be reheated to 165 degrees to ensure that any contamination will not cause any harm.
“So you want to make sure you are obviously putting the leftover foods in containers with lids and then sticking with the keeping of raw foods underneath of your ready to eat foods,” Kirkbride said.
Foods such as veggie and meat trays should not be left out longer than two hours because bacteria can flourish and spread between 41 and 135 degrees. For more information about handling leftovers you can visit zmchd.org and click on holiday food safety.