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If reheating leftovers in a microwave oven, always cover food and rotate the plate so everything heats evenly.

Eat refrigerated leftovers within a couple days to reduce  the risk of food poisoning. If you don't think you will be eating your leftovers so soon, freeze them immediately.

Always go directly home after eating out if you are bringing home leftovers. Put the food in the refrigerator right away. If you will not be arriving home within two hours or less of being served, it is safer to leave the leftovers at the restaurant.

Heat your leftovers thoroughly and bring gravies and sauces to a rolling boil.

Make sure to separate raw and cooked foods when storing them.

It is always a treat to visit a favorite restaurant and be served a favorite meal. But sometimes dining out can offer too much of a good thing. The portions served in some restaurants are so large there is just too much food on the plate to comfortably eat in one sitting. That’s when a “doggy bag” comes in handy.


Of course, last night's restaurant leftovers can make for an extra tasty lunch tomorrow. It is extremely important, however, to handle leftovers safely. The kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning can be sneaky. They don't always change the taste, smell or appearance of foods, which can make it impossible to tell just by looking or even tasting whether leftovers have become dangerous to eat.


If you ever doubt the safety of your leftovers, it's best to dispose of them. Here are some additional tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Bringing Home Leftovers... Safely