Food safety tips for Christmas leftovers

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Updated: 12/26/2013 1:57 pm
(, KRNV & CNN) - As we recover from Christmas meals, many may be getting ready for Round 2. The question is, how long should you keep holiday leftovers in the fridge?

Part of the fun of the holidays is eating the big family meal and enjoying the delicious leftovers. Following some simple rules can keep your food safe.

Registered Dietitian Julie Schwartz said, "For starters, make sure that you don't leave it sitting out longer than two hours, and you want to make sure you chill it appropriately, as well."

Schwartz said that whether it's the turkey or a casserole, get it into the refrigerator quickly to keep bad bacteria from multiplying. "Put your food in airtight containers. because air fuels the bacteria, so you want to keep that air out."

The temperature of your refrigerator should be set below 40 degrees to ensure that the food will stay safe. You may want to get a thermometer, if your fridge does not have one. When it's time to reheat the leftovers, bring the temperature back up to the level needed when cooked the first time.

"We want to make sure the poultry is at least at 165," Schwartz said.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says we should eat the leftovers within 3-4 days. And if you have any concerns about safety: "If in doubt, throw it out."
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