Leftover Food That Can Make You Sick

Care about your health – sometimes you may just be better off prepping a fresh meal than reheating an old one.
Text by Corina Tan
Leftover Food

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The business of not-wasting food is quite a serious business. With World Hunger on the rise, affecting about 10 per cent of people globally, we want to make sure we are not wasting this precious resource and hoping we do our part, so it is channelled to those in need. However, in trying to do our part versus the habit of keeping leftover food in the refrigerator for days, reheating and then eating them again without a care in the world (except a good conscience that there’s no food wasting), may just cost us a trip to the hospital or worse still a long-term digestive issue that we would rather be without.

BBC Good Food advises that you shouldn’t reheat food more than once because repeatedly changing temperatures provide more opportunities for bacteria to grow and cause food poisoning. In order to avoid this possibility, Good Food recommends heating food to at least 75 degrees Celsius for at least two minutes and double- checking that it is evenly heated throughout, which might mean stopping your microwave part-way through its cook time to stir your dish.

Good Food Practices

If you are planning on re-reheating, make sure you don’t let the reheated food sit out too long. Room temperature food is more prone to developing bacteria, so once you’ve taken what you want, make sure to get the rest back in the refrigerator quickly. If the leftovers were frozen before you reheated them, Good Food also notes that you should never put them back in the freezer, but in the chilled refrigerator.


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If you are cooking or preparing a meal for just one person or two, cooking a smaller portion and finishing all of it entirely may become a challenge which is why most modern homes end up having a lot of leftover food from days ago. It just seems like such a shame to throw out “good food”, and a waste of ingredients, time and effort. However, as delicious at that good honest meal was, nothing can prepare you for the complete upset of getting a stomach bug and ending up feeling miserable with regret.

Some types of food like rice or mushrooms can be particularly prone to causing food poisoning so when you are choosing to put leftovers in cold storage, the type of food is a major consideration. Sometimes you may just be better off prepping a fresh meal than reheating an old one.

Stay tuned for Leftover Food That Can Make You Sick Part 2 as we list the of the kinds of food that you should probably prepare fresh and never keep as leftovers.


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