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The Truth About Takeout Containers and Food Poisoning

By Lana Bandoim

No one wants to cook dinner or go out, so you reach for a menu to order takeout. However, the overflowing Styrofoam boxes are too big for the entire family to finish. There are leftovers in almost every container, and no one wants to throw them away. Is it safe to keep the food in the takeout containers and avoid food poisoning?  

Temperature and Time

Temperature and time are two factors that must be considered to avoid food poisoning. First, food needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible to avoid the growth of bacteria. It is recommended that most food items be placed in the fridge within two hours of cooking. For takeout containers, you do not want to leave them out on the kitchen counter longer than two hours.

The temperature of the house and kitchen also plays a role. If it is hot, then it is better to refrigerate things faster to avoid spoiling the food. Most experts agree that the refrigerator temperature needs to be set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Storing Takeout    

One common concern is how to store takeout food. Is it safe to keep it in the Styrofoam, cardboard or other packaging? The answer depends on the durability of the container and the ability to close it. If a takeout container cannot be sealed or closed properly, then it may leak or spill in the fridge. It is also more likely to become contaminated.

It may be easier and safer to transfer takeout food to your own plastic, reusable containers. Consider doing this to all the leftovers. Clear plastic containers are the best option because they allow people to see what is inside.

Reheating Takeout

It is important to reheat takeout food completely before eating it. It is recommended that all leftovers be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This can prevent food poisoning and other problems. You can use an oven or a microwave to reheat food, but it is crucial to make sure it is reheated evenly. This can be harder to accomplish in a microwave because it tends to cook things unevenly. Cold spots are a common problem with microwaves, and sometimes the interior of a dish is hot while the outside is cooler.

Avoid food poisoning by following these kitchen safety guidelines. Talk to a doctor and seek medical help if you suspect food poisoning has already occurred.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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