What Happens If You Eat Bad Leftovers?
To put it simply, leftovers are prone to the development of bacteria in them after some days, and bad leftovers have more of these growing in them. It is never visible from the appearance, smell or taste of the leftovers that they’ve gone bad and eating these bad leftovers may result in food poisoning.
If you are debating whether to eat these leftovers, or have forgotten how long they are been sitting in the fridge, simply throw them out. If you do not think you can eat the leftovers for three to four days, freezing them immediately after cooking is the best choice. If you really want to preserve leftovers safely beyond the three-day mark, food scientist Guy Crosby suggests freezing.
Perishable foods should go into the fridge at 40 degrees or lower within 2 hours of cooking. If foods are left outside in a room or outdoors with temperatures 90 degrees or higher, foods should be refrigerated or discarded within only 1 hour.
Make sure that the temperature of your cooler is kept at its lowest setting possible (40 degrees F or lower), unless freezing your food. When storing cooked foods in your fridge, be sure to let the food cool and then keep it cold. Some people prepare their food in the morning and then they put it in the fridge at night once it has cooled. Amid busy schedule, one finds cooking and keeping the food refrigerated is actually easier because food does not get spoilt.
Some reasons why people waste food at home are because they over-cook and forget about, or not consume, the leftovers. According to the US National Library of Medicine, food poisoning can come from eating foods that are naturally raw, undercooked, left out for too long, or are not stored at a suitable temperature.
To learn about What Happens If You Eat Expired Turkey, then check out my another article.
While foods may lose quality and develop an off-flavor or become obsolete after their expiration dates, one of the biggest things to keep in mind is that foods may also lose their nutritional value over time. Age-related changes to our taste and odor perceptions can also make eating contaminated food easy by mistake.
|What leftovers are considered bad to eat?||How to protect it from going bad?|
|Leftovers that are kept for more than 2 hours at room temperature (60-68°F).||If it is a cooked dish, refrigerate it within 1 hour.|
|Perishable foods that has been refrigerated for more than 3-4 days should be checked twice before consuming it.||You can also store leftover foods for months in the freezer.|
Because bacteria usually do not alter a foods taste, smell, or appearance, it is impossible to know if a food is unsafe to eat. The effect is because some foods are more likely to contain pathogens, such as bacteria or toxins, that could make you sick. While the best way to tell whether eating expired foods will hurt you is to watch out for visible molds or weird odors (this is always easier with expiring products), many times consumers cannot see (or even smell) harmful bacteria that may live on an item. It turns out you cannot simply look at leftovers and tell whether or not they are safe to eat, as the bacteria growing on foods are usually not visible to the naked eye (except mold, of course).
By the way if you want to learn about Can Out Of Date Fish Make You Sick, then check out this article.
Organic, locally grown foods, just like others, may get exposed to harmful bacteria in the growing and harvesting process. Some foodborne bacteria create poisons or toxins that are not destroyed by high cooking temperatures if food is left out at room temperature for a long time.
Most of the common types of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not grow as well at low temperatures found in the refrigerator. Foods that have high moisture contents–for example, cooked meats and cooked vegetables–can grow bacteria faster, even if kept in the fridge. A bacterium called Bacillus cereus is found in foods, which can grow rapidly at room temperature, (foodsafety.gov).
Bacteria in leftovers begin breaking down foods rapidly, making food scraps, if improperly handled, potentially hazardous long before there are visible signs of mold or rot. Yet, according to FDA guidelines, leftovers are extremely time-sensitive items, meant to be cooked and eaten within three or four days after being prepared.
The FDA says that generally, you should keep leftovers in the refrigerator only up to four days (womp, whoop), but Randy Worobo, PhD, a food microbial scientist at Cornell University, told SELF they could potentially last as long as a week, depending on how they are handled. Whether your leftovers are sauteed vegetables or fish cakes will impact how long they can be kept in the refrigerator safely.
If you truly hate leftovers, try to avoid them in the first place, matching how much food you make or buy with how much food you eat. Whether you are eating at home or at a restaurant, do not allow any edible leftovers to end up going to waste in your garbage can or compost. While being frugal is smart, eating leftovers that have been sitting too long in the fridge or outside can pose a danger to your health.
Unfortunately, the answer as to how long leftovers are best is complicated, depending on several factors, according to Donald W. Schaffner, PhD, professor of food sciences at Rutgers University.
As long as you are careful to avoid any cross-contamination, and you are handling your food appropriately to prevent any existing pathogens from multiplying to unsafe levels, Randy Worobo says that in some cases, leftovers may keep up to one week. Older food may still be unsafe to eat, even if it seems perfectly fine, which is why using time as a frame of reference is best if you do not want to risk that, Randy Worobo says. He says that there is actually very little risk to getting sick from leftovers, provided that you are using proper food-handling practices (more on this in a moment). Leftovers can raise your refrigerator temperature for a short period, but that should drop in no time, says Phillip Tierno, and they never heat up enough inside there to harm any other foods.
Something you might not always be in control of is if a food was handled unsafely, such as if the person touching it did not wash their hands, or used contaminated cookware, or cutting boards, all things that also could lead to food poisoning. A lack of cleaning means you could have been contaminating food before it ever made it into your fridge, thanks to improperly washed surfaces, or bacterial biofilms that are forming on your tools. These foods can be kept safely without refrigeration for longer periods, as much as one week, and stored in a sealed container. When in previous years, no fridge existed, people bought fresh, cooked fresh, and if there was any leftover food, they would either toss it out or share with others.
Can you get sick from eating old leftovers?
Bacteria in leftovers start to break down your food quality if not handled correctly, and it is potentially unsafe well before any visual indications of mold or decay. Food poisoning, also known as a foodborne illness, affects 48 million people in the United States annually, according to the CDC estimates.
How common is food poisoning from leftovers?
However, bacteria in those leftovers quickly begin to break down food, making them potentially deadly if not treated properly before any obvious indications of mildew or decomposition. Food poisoning, commonly known as a foodborne illness, affects 48 million individuals in the United States annually, according to the CDC estimates.
How do you tell if cooked food is spoiled?
Spoiled food is food that has degraded and acquired unpleasant flavors, aromas, or textures. Fruits and vegetables may become slimy or mushy as a result of bacterial spoilage, and meat may begin to smell terrible. Typically, individuals wouldn’t choose to consume rotten food.