According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are important safety steps to follow.
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- Two-hour rule: Perishable food that isn’t refrigerated within two hours of coming out of the oven or refrigerator can become unsafe. Bacteria can multiply quickly between 40 F and 140 F.
- Use shallow containers in the refrigerator until the Monday after Thanksgiving.
- Eat or freeze leftovers within four days.
- Reheat leftovers to 165 F. Sauce or gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
- If microwaving to reheat, remember that microwaves have cold spots and you should check the internal temperature of the food in several places.
- It’s safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing first.
If you have questions about food safety, you can contact the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).