Leftover turkey? How long is it safe to eat?

Home for the Holidays

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(WJW) – While the Thanksgiving feast is over for most, how to keep those leftovers to keep on giving is important, too.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are important safety steps to follow.

  • Two-hour rule: Perishable food that isn’t refrigerated within two hours of coming out of the oven or refrigerator can become unsafe. Bacteria can multiply quickly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use shallow containers in the refrigerator until the Monday after Thanksgiving.
  • Eat or freeze leftovers within four days.
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauce or gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
  • If microwaving to reheat, remember that microwaves have cold spots and you should check the internal temperature of the food in several places.
  • It’s safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing first.

If you have questions about food safety, you can contact the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).

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