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A Reminder: Re-heat Leftovers Safely

A post I ran across in Yahoo! News recounts a tale of woe that’s affecting many Brits these days. Seems there’s a minor epidemic of the runs over ‘ome which has been traced back to poor storage and reckless reheating of ‘take away’ (take-out) food. It’s a good opportunity to talk about food poisoning…

Leftovers - © one woman’s hands via FlickrDoes your fridge look like this?

It’s not necessarily Salmonella…

…or Ecoli or any of the serious bacterial afflictions, some of which can kill you. It’s mostly just your every day micro-pests, which at worst will have you throwing up or running to the can every fifteen minutes or so for most of day after you consume improperly stored or reheated food. We’ve all had it at last once, at one time or another, and probably didn’t even peg it as food poisoning. More likely, you thought you had ‘a touch of the flu’. Probably not. Most short term upsets of this sort are actually caused by a bug called Campylobacter, which is almost always transmitted to people through contaminated food.

Just don’t catch it!

The best way to defend yourself from Campylobacter is to mount a spirited offense. And that’s as easy as following two simple rules:

  • Always store leftovers in closed containers in the refrigerator at below 40 F.
  • Never eat leftovers cold. Always reheat them to at least 165 F

…and add to that last one:

  • If reheating in a microwave, always reheat in several installments, stirring between buzzings. it’s essential that the whole mass of the food is heated to a save temperature. If you don’t stir. the centre may not be hot enough even though the outside is bubbling hot!

That’s really all there is to it. Just follow the rules and banish the runs!

~ Maggie J.