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When is it time to throw Thanksgiving leftovers away?

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best-overs. Here are some food safety tips when it comes to leftovers.

NEW ORLEANS — By now everyone’s belly’s should be filled with Turkey and Thanksgiving favorites and there’s nothing better than having leftovers to eat the next day, but when is it time to throw those leftovers away?

Remember the Two-Hour Rule: The USDA says to refrigerate all perishable foods sitting out at room temperature within two hours of being cooked.

After two hours, food enters the “Danger Zone” - that’s when bacteria start multiplying making it unsafe to eat. 

One resident says he uses the more conventional method to test the goodness of leftovers, their nose.

“I can tell when they go bad, sometimes the smell and just by smelling it you can tell it's no good anymore.”

For those who spent the day at a loved one’s place, when transporting hot food, wrap dishes in insulated containers to keep the temperature above 140°F . For cold dishes, place them in a cooler with ice or gel packs.

But how long can you keep those leftovers? Food.Safety.gov says they can be kept in the fridge for three to four days. If frozen, they will be of the best quality within 2-6 months.

It’s also safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, you can heat them in a saucepan, microwave, or in the oven. Remember when reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165°F. 

Another resident told Eyewitness News he ensures there are no leftovers at all.

“I have a lot of family so we try to get as much eaten and knocked out the way as possible and occasionally we will take some to other family members that couldn’t make it.”

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