As families throughout southeast Iowa enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, a local health specialist reminds everyone to store leftovers safely.
Washington County Environmental Health Public Health Inspector Cindy Chavez says that leftover food should be put away as soon as possible. All foods should be put in sealed containers or bags and placed in a refrigerator. She explains that rapid bacterial growth can begin after just two hours of sitting at room temperature, “If your food items are out for a longer period of time, those are generally tossed within the same day. So if you have items out on the counter for more than four hours and it hasn’t been monitored, it’s normally recommended to go ahead and discard those items to prevent any food borne illnesses at that time.”
Chavez added that it is recommended to label containers with the date that the food was prepared. If properly stored in a timely manner, most foods should be good to eat for the next seven days. She says that residents may have to keep a closer eye on milk products as they can spoil quicker than other foods.