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|How to Tell When Your Leftovers Go Bad|
|Written by Administrator|
Should you throw moldy bread in the trash, or just trim around the green spot? Can Sunday's leftovers be Friday's meal? Failure to know this information could adversely affect your health. For some people , like the elderly, the young, and ill; not knowing could prove deadly.
Scientists have developed methods to detect food spoilage, but until these are available on a mass scale, food science and safety experts have some tips.
Slimy, Stinky, Spotty and Chunky Food May Not be Unsafe
Slimy, stinky, spotty or chunky changes in food don't mean very much in terms of safety. It may not taste good, but that doesn't mean it's going to make you sick. That's because there's a difference between what food scientists call spoilage bacteria and pathogens. Spoilage bacteria form into slimy films on lunch meat, soggy edges on vegetables or stinky chicken. But the pathogens that do make you sick are odorless, colorless and invisible.
For leftover food to be safe, it must be kept no more than four days at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees centigrade. (Freezing fresh food at zero degree Fahrenheit will keep it safe indefinitely.) Forty degrees Fahrenheit buys people three days for safety with raw chicken and ground beef, three days with cuts of beef and lamb, and four days for leftovers. Allowing anything to go above the cold 40 degrees along the way from store to frying pan can make the difference between illness and safety according to food safety experts.Significant Number of Refrigerators Unsafe
A study commissioned by the Federal Transit Administration, cites several issues surrounding food safety. According to the report, about 25 percent of the refrigerators in the country are operating at a temperature that can make food unsafe. This is alarming especially since the refrigerator is used as a food safety device and most people have no clue, no idea what temperature it should be."Post Grocery Store Food Handling a Huge Factor
If your store bought food was mishandled in transit to the grocery store or while there (think consumer leaving meat in cart and grocery employee putting it back on the shelf for instance) then if your purchase such an item you are already at risk. If it's contaminated and then you further abuse it temperature-wise, by taking too long to get your items home, in the refrigerator - or you are placing it in a refrigerator that is 42 degrees Fahrenheit for instance, instead of the recomended4 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less then you're at risk.
Bad Food Safety Habits that you can Change
"Bacterial growth is time and temperature dependent" said Eileen Dykes of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Dykes recommends a time limit of two hours between meal to fridge transport, which is not always enough time "if you go to a restaurant and then get a doggy bag, and then go to a movie."Use all your Tools for Food Safety
Watching a thermometer in the fridge and counting days on the calendar does far better for home food safety than searching for funny smells or sites of mold. But that doesn't mean those disgusting signs are useless.Use smell, site and objective data, like the refrigerator temperature, and cold food storage chart data to help you reach a educated decision.Food Safety Resources
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