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Leftover Food Safety

How to use leftover ingredients to make healthy foods?
(December 30, 2010)

Safe Food Handling

It is a well known fact that all people should observe certain strict hygienic measures, when it comes to cleaning, preserving, cooking or storing food. This is because our health depends on the manner is which the food is handled. For example, even though you may choose to eat nothing but the healthiest fruits and vegetables, they could cause more harm to your body, if they have not been cleaned properly. Similarly, if you eat meat that was cooked a while ago, but was not refrigerated or stored properly, it could lead to an upset stomach, food poisoning or other digestive problems. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for people of all ages to get well acquainted with the proper food handling practices that have been recommended by experts.

Studies indicate that there are around 250,000 instances of food borne illnesses that are reported in the United States each year and most of these cases are the direct result of improper food handling practices. Moreover, there are several cases that go unreported, mainly because the condition is fairly mild and the symptoms are not too severe. Unfortunately, in some cases, the illness is so severe that it can also lead to death, especially in children and younger people. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for every single person to follow good food handling practices at home and make sure that they only choose to eat at restaurants and food establishments that follow similar healthy practices when handling food.

What are healthy practices when handling food?

Just like there are certain dos and don’ts that need to be kept in mind when it comes to eating foods, there are certain practices that should be strictly followed, before consuming foods too. These practices mainly include general safe food handling guidelines that have been set down by health experts and institutions, which can minimize the possibility of consuming food that could be contaminated. By following such healthy food handling practices, you could also reduce the amount of pesticides and harmful chemicals that enter your body. Contrary to what many people believe, safe food handling does not just start from the time you begin to cook; you need to follow proper safe food handling procedures right from the time that you go shopping for groceries.

Safe food handling at home

In the United states, almost all restaurants and food establishments are inspected regularly, to check if they are following the recommended safe food handling rules to the Tee. However, there is no way to determine if safe food practices being followed at home are up to the mark or not. Studies indicate that 1 out of 5 digestive problems take place, after the consumption of home cooked food. This shows that safe food handling rules or guidelines are just as important for the house, as they are for a commercial establishment. Given below is a list of safe food handling dos and don’ts that should be followed at home:

• Shopping: Before picking up any food item, it is absolutely essential to check for expiry dates. Moreover, if the package is not in good condition, the item should be avoided. Several packaged food items come with a safe food handling label, which should be read and kept in mind. Foods that are supposed to be refrigerated should feel cold to the touch and frozen foods should be hard or solid. In case of canned food, there should be no dents that can be felt or seen. When buying meat or fresh produce, it is important to check how fresh they are, but gauging their firmness and their color.
• Transporting: Shopping for food should always be the last chore on your list of errands. It is best for you to go straight home, after making your food purchases. There are some people who go as far as placing a cooler in their cars so that they can transport foods, over a longer distance. However, if the air conditioner in your car is powerful, you can make do with that. Make sure that you never leave any kind of food in your car for a long period of time (more than an hour), especially if the air conditioner is not turned on.
• Storing: It is important to ensure that your refrigerator has been set at the right temperature, of else, the bacteria could multiply. Fresh meat, poultry and fish should be cleaned, before they are frozen. In case they are refrigerated, they should be kept in a plate or a container, so that blood and juices do not leak into the refrigerator or on to other foods. Food items like eggs, fruits and vegetables should also be refrigerated immediately. In case you are planning to store food that has been cooked, the guidelines state that the food should be refrigerated within one hour of its being cooked. Eating food that has been cooked hours ago, without refrigerating it properly could have an adverse effect on the body.
• Preparing: Everyone should make it a practice to wash their hands with warm water and soap, before they start cooking. Moreover, kitchen towels and sponges are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, which is why they should be replaced regularly. Before you begin to chop meat or veggies, make sure that the knife as well as the chopping board has been cleaned. In case food needs to be thawed, it should be thawed either in the fridge or in a microwave. Some people think that fruits with thick skins (like melons) need not be washed. However, there are thousands of bacteria on the outer rind, which get transferred on to the knife and then on to the inside of the fruit, if the skin is not washed thoroughly.
• Cooking: It is important to cook food thoroughly, if you want to kill the bacteria that are present. Hence, foods like meat, fish, eggs and poultry should be cooked for a longer time. Cooking vegetables properly is important too, as it can destroy the germs that are present. Cooking techniques like boiling, grilling, steaming, roasting, poaching and baking are all healthy.
• Serving: It is essential to ensure that the utensils and dishes that the foods have been served in are clean. It is a good practice to rinse the plates, cutlery and dishes, before using them to serve or eat.

Restaurant food storage chart

The food storage, preparation and cooking regulations that have been set for most restaurants are a bit stricter. Good establishments conduct special safe food handling training for their employees on a regular basis. The use of a safe food handling video, a food storage safety chart and tips on handling safety food chart can also be beneficial during training. Thereafter, regular internal audits should be conducted to ensure that all the employees are following the safe food storage chart thoroughly.

Submitted by S M on December 30, 2010 at 12:49


At any given time in a house, there is always some amount of leftover food. Safe food handling practices should be followed when it comes to dealing with leftover food. This is because only when the leftover food is stored safely can it be reused or consumed. To be a good manager of left over food, it is necessary for one to have a basic understanding of food handling and food storage. One must follow the next few rules to do just that:

Refrigeration of food leftovers is a very important step here. Eating spoilt food can be disastrous. One must remember that food gets spoiled before it starts to look, smell or taste bad. Always store food at a temperature below 40 degree Fahrenheit.

When it comes to re-heating, for a tasty meal, re-heat the leftover food at 165 degree Fahrenheit. But do this once and only once. Leftover food re-heated more than once can harbor bacteria that is very harmful to health. Always cook re-heated dishes right through and serve piping hot. As far as restaurant dishes go, reheat within hours of consuming the meal. Also, food from restaurants must be consumed within 3 days.

Here are a few leftover recipes that you can try:
  • You can form small balls with left over baked potatoes. Make these around cubes of cheese and roll the entire set in crumbs. Broil until it is golden brown.
  • Leftover spaghetti can make a great stir-fry meal. Stir fry the noodles in 2 tablespoons of hot oil. Do this for a few minutes and add in the fried noodles.
  • For a simple and delicious turkey sandwich, place a slice or two of leftover turkey with some stuffing between two slices of bread.
  • You can also combine leftover mashed potatoes with onion bits and shredded cheese an bake.
  • You can use leftover veggies to make a delicious soup or broth. You can also cut them and use them when making an omelet.
  • Another excellent method of utilization is that you can use leftover coffee and freeze them into ice cubes. These cubes can then be added in a new coffee, instead of adding plain ice cubes.

For bigger meals, here what you can do with Leftover Turkey Ideas:
  • Add diced turkey to tomato sauce and serve with pasta
  • Shred leftover turkey and add to Chinese leaves, onions and other veggies. Serve with noodles
  • Saute diced peppers and onions and add diced turkey. Cook in oven and serve with crusty bread.
Submitted by A M on June 1, 2010 at 03:06


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