or after it is removed from an appliance keeping it warm, leftovers must be refrigerated.
Throw away all perishable foods that have been left in room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature is over 90° F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer).
Cold perishable food, such as chicken salad or a platter of deli meats, should be kept at 40° F or below. When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot in chafing dishes, slow cookers or warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.
Discard any cold leftovers that have been left out for more than two hours at room temperature (one hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).
Lesson #2: Cool Food Rapidly
To prevent bacterial growth, it’s important to cool food rapidly so it reaches as fast as possible the safe refrigerator-storage temperature of 40° F or below.
To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers. A big pot of soup, for example, will take a long time to cool, inviting bacteria to multiply and increasing the danger of foodborne illness.
Instead, divide the pot of soup into smaller containers so it will cool quickly.
Lesson #3: Microwave safely
When reheating in the microwave, cover and rotate the food for even heating. Arrange food items evenly in a covered microwave-safe glass or ceramic dish, and add some liquid if needed.
Be sure the covering is microwave safe, and vent the lid or wrap to let the steam escape. The moist heat that is created will help destroy harmful bacteria and will ensure uniform cooking.
Also, because microwaves have cold spots, check the temperature of the food in several places with a food thermometer and allow a resting time before checking the internal temperature of the food with a food thermometer.
Cooking continues for a longer time in dense foods such as a whole turkey or beef roast than in less dense foods like breads, small vegetables and fruits.
Just remember, whenever you go, if the food doesn’t look like it’s been prepared or being refrigerated properly, don’t eat it. It’s not worth your life.