Most of us will be attending a family or community holiday dinner in the next couple of months. They are great fun and the food is out of this world. Seeing and visiting with family and friends is an important part of dinner. There is a also a pretty good chance there will be leftover food. Older adults and young children are at particular risk to foodborne illness so you need to be very careful handling the leftovers for those age groups.
Remember these food safety guidelines:
*Transport food in insulated containers with ice or an ice pack.
*Store all perishable leftovers in the refrigerator and set it below 40 degrees F. Use a refrigerator thermometer and check it regularly.
*Put perishable foods in the refrigerator as soon as you get home. You must have food in the refrigerator within 2 hours to slow bacteria growth.
*If you make stops along the way or visit with friends longer than 2 hours, your food will not be safe.
*Store food in shallow containers. The food cools faster in shallow containers (less than 2 inches deep).
*Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meats separate from leftovers.
*Always use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of leftovers.
*Reheat leftovers to a temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
*Boil leftover soups and gravies for several minutes before serving.
Source: Chef Charles Newsletter, Iowa Cooperative Extension