So, what is for dinner? Leftovers are a common answer to this age old question. Here are a few tips to help prevent foodborne illness when serving leftovers.

Storing Leftovers

  1. Divide large amounts of leftover foods into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Quick cooling discourages growth of bacteria.

  2. Remove the stuffing from poultry and other stuffed meats before refrigerating.

  3. Date leftovers so that they can be used within a safe amount of time. See following web link for more information: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/index.asp

  4. Never taste food that looks or smells strange. Just discard it.

Remember: When In Doubt, Throw It Out!

Reheating Leftovers

  1. When preparing food for later use, package food in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze it immediately.

  2. Cover leftovers with a lid when microwaving to ensure thorough heating.

  3. Bring sauces and soup to a boil. Heat other leftovers to 165°F.

Remember: When In Doubt, Throw It Out!

Download PDF version of this page of information about leftovers pdf format of foodsafety-leftovers.pdf


This information is provided by Epidemiology Program within the Department of Public Health.