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Left Over Food Safety

February 17th, 2014 at 06:32 am

The talk of using up and leftovers, reminded me of a story.

I had some leftovers at work pushing the 2-week mark so I thought I better look up when it was no longer safe to eat. When I googled it, I Saw most recommendations to throw away food after 2-3 days.


It is just so ridiculous what a wasteful society we live in.

I decided to toss to food to be on the safe side, just because it was beyond my comfort limit. But for food less than two weeks we have always used the "smell" test. Is long as it tastes good, isn't moldy, and smells good. I've never particularly tasted anything "bad" if it passed the mold and smell test. So while the "taste" test is good in theory it would be rare to get that far??

A quick google today brought up an article that I think is excellent on the subject:

The Dos and Donts of Keeping Leftovers Safe


Sum up:

--Put leftovers away ASAP (in appropriately cold fridge, etc.)

--Cover food well

A lot of food does okay with a loose covering, but there are some foods I wrap in an extra plastic bag to preserve freshness. I most often do this for baked goods or bread. (Loose covered food may never be kept very long, too, to be fair). This may be more due to our dry climate.

--Trust your instincts

--Properly reheat food before eating

--Don't throw away perfectly good food

--Don't leave things sitting out at room temperature for long period of time

So, that sums it up pretty well.

Between me and my spouse? He is the more cautious one - so I can tell he has grown up in a more cautious house. He will raise an eyebrow sometimes, at me, and he gets crazy insane about chicken. (I believe to the point of unreasonable). But, it is what it is - he is not prone to waste food. It more comes out in what we have to cook or eat "today" because he believes it will go to waste given another day. & now that I think about it - he would tell you the same thing about me. When something is way crazy expired (usually condiments and dressings) I will throw them out. & that drives him nuts. So, we all have our quirks.

Which reminds me, we are also far more food cautious in our sweltering summers than in our cool winters. (Since we keep our house much cooler in winter and much warmer in summer).

When thinking about it, the first thing that also came to mind was immunity. We have fairly strong immunities in my house, in general, and you do have to wonder if your body does adjust more to what you do eat. Interestingly, I did see that people with lower immunities should be more food careful. Fair enough.

6 Responses to “Left Over Food Safety”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for adding to the use it up discussion!

    I'm sure if I had ever been ill from food poisoning I will feel very cautious about food. The yogurt I ate last week was technically expired, but only by a few days. It tasted fine and no ill effects. I would not go weeks after an dairy product has expired. Most of our food is eaten within two weeks in the fridge. Freezing definitely helps extend food life and eliminate waste.

  2. snafu Says:

    Working in third world countries I marvel that people don't get sick eating 'street' food that sits out in their display counters. Foods at open markets just sits out in sacks or display boxes, meat on hooks overhead, fish on the floor in large basins and buckets. I've seen fish jump out and land on the filthy floor, the fishmonger just grabs it and put it back in the water! Although they don't use much in the way of chemical fertilizer, the air pollution and natural fertilizer has contaminated all the fresh fruit and vegetables which are eaten in enormous quantity at each meal.

    Our doctor goes ballistic over waterless hand wash products and the amount of antibiotics his patient demand. He feels we are becoming immune to some drug from over uses and super bugs like flesh eating disease are getting more common in our western, more affluent societies.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    @snafu - one of my friends is a biologist, and same thing. Our kids went to the same preschool and she got them to stop using hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap. That one was one very small battle in a very big war.

    I have no doubt that there are people in some parts of the world who would absolutely roll their eyes at our own food safety measures. Big Grin

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Well, I don't follow y our first rule: refrigerate promptly. If you just heated something up on the stove and it's still hot, I let it cool on the counter first before refrigerating, otherwise I'm just making the food inside the fridge warm, which is defeating the purpose.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    Good Point PS. The point is just not to leave it out for several hours. We certainly don't put hot dishes in our fridge, either. "Put away ASAP in a manner that is sensible".

  6. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I pretty much do the smell test on most foods, but am pretty good about putting leftovers away quickly (once they're cool.) This is both for food safety reasons AND to keep it away from Kari reasons! NE on the other hand ... he leaves food out all the time - even meat products. He says he's done it his whole adult life and never gotten sick from it. So .. he probably has a pretty good immunity built up to food borne illnesses or something.

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