Are you Living on Leftovers?

Guest Blogger Caroline O’Connor  

If you answered yes, my next question is… how long will you be living to tell the tale?

Okaaay, that was a “bite” extreme, BUT when handled improperly, perishable foods can cause serious illness. The following tips and tricks from the FDA will ensure that your food is safe to eat.

The 2-Hour Rule

ANY perishable food (meat, poultry, eggs, casseroles, etc.) should be DISCARDED if left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.


Between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit is a party zone for bacteria.

When you have leftovers, carry out, or delivery food that won’t be eaten right away, the food should be divided into small, shallow containers and placed immediately in the refrigerator.

Put this into practice:

Scenario #1

You go out to eat with friends and only finish half your food. You box up the rest to bring home… because who wouldn’t want Mexican for breakfast?!

Well, what happens when Suzy thinks it’d be SO fun to continue the friend festivities and grab a glass of wine at the nearest happy hour. Then your leftover food gets placed in the backseat of your car, only to be brought home 3 hours later, aka 3 hours TOO LATE.

While you were in Wine Bistro partying with your girlfriends, all that bacteria on your food was having a party of its own and multiplying by the second. Your next plan of action is to protect yourself and throw that food away! Better luck next time.

Scenario #2

This time Suzy has an early morning and wants to get to bed at a decent time. You head home after dinner and immediately place your leftovers in the fridge. Great! Now the question is, how long can that food stay in your fridge and still be safe for consumption?

The answer:

  • Cooked meat/poultry: 3 -4 days

  • Pizza: 3-4 days

  • Luncheon meats: 3-5 days

  • Egg, tuna, and macaroni salads: 3-5 days

Need a reminder? Stick a KeepSafe Food Magnet on your fridge. Protect Your Plate with KeepSafe Food.