CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people love Thanksgiving leftovers more than they love the original meal. Google Trends shows searches for “how long do Thanksgiving leftovers last” spiked in the days leading up to the holiday. But experts say don't bank on those leftovers holding you over for too long.
Can you eat leftovers for a week after Thanksgiving?
No, you should not eat leftovers for a week after Thanksgiving.
WHAT WE FOUND
According to the Mayo Clinic, refrigerated leftovers, whether they’re Thanksgiving leftovers or any other leftovers, should be eaten within three to four days. The clinic says after that, the risk of food poisoning increases.
“I sort of use this as my rule of thumb, my mom always said the three-day rule," DeMarco said. "And I think realistically, that's probably a good rule of thumb."
The USDA says the Monday after Thanksgiving is the last day to safely eat leftovers adding that “after four days, spoilage bacteria can cause food to develop a bad smell or taste.”
“You really have to enjoy the leftovers before Cyber Monday is over,” Stefanski said.
The safety of leftovers is also dependent on when the food is stored.
The USDA says it’s best to refrigerate perishable foods in a shallow container within two hours.
"When food is at room temperature, they call it the food temperature danger zone," Stefanski said, adding, "Foods really shouldn't be in that danger zone, you know, more than a few hours.”
Circle your calendar for Monday, Nov. 29. If you haven’t eaten them by then, throw them out -- or at least move them to the freezer.
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