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Clean, Cook, Chill, Separate: Four Easy Rules for a Food Poisoning Free Holiday

If someone does get sick from eating that leftover turkey, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid foods with meat and dairy. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Practicing good food safety can keep family and friends healthy.

Pete Cassell of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s important to make sure leftovers have been properly frozen or refrigerated before eating them to avoid food poisoning. And no matter how good that green bean casserole looks on day three:

"Don’t taste food that either looks or smells questionable. It’s usually a good rule of thumb that if you’re in doubt, just throw it out. Leftovers should be used between three to four days generally. But if you freeze them, they generally last longer."

Florida Department of Health’s Kent Donahue says it’s important to properly store leftovers to avoid spoilage. He says this means keeping freezers at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. He also says it’s important to:

“Make sure you get them in the freezer after the big event. People usually have the food sitting out there for awhile while you’re enjoying friends and family and it sits on the table. Put it in the refrigerator and make sure it’s in the right container.”

If someone does get sick from eating that leftover turkey, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and eat bland foods.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.