Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

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OSU-CHS News > 2016

Nov. 22, 2016

Safety tips for using Thanksgiving dinner leftovers

Most Americans look forward to the tradition of eating Thanksgiving leftovers. But nobody wants their holiday ruined because of food poisoning. The OSU Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) has advice for avoiding foodborne illness.

Among the tips are:

  • Remove all turkey meat from the carcass within two hours of removing it from the oven.
  • Store the leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours from when cooking has completed.
  • Divide leftovers into small portions and store in several shallow containers.
  • Eat the leftovers within three to four days.
  • If large amounts of food are left, consider freezing them for later use. Do not wait until the leftovers have been in the refrigerator for several days to freeze. Frozen leftovers should be eaten within six months.
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit throughout or until steaming hot. Soups, sauces and gravy should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute.
  • Never taste leftover food that looks or smells strange. So when in doubt, throw it out.

For additional Thanksgiving food safety information, visit the FAPC website.


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