Storing leftover food in the fridge
- Leftover food needs to be handled and stored safely so that it does not pose a food safety risk
- When you have cooked food and you are not going to eat it straight away or if there are leftovers after serving, place on a clean plate, cover and refrigerate within two hours
- Throw away any high risk food that has been standing at room temperature for more than two hours and throw away all food scraps
- Remember to use clean dishes and utensils for cooked food to prevent cross-contamination
- Dividing food into smaller portions and putting it in a shallow dish can help to make it cool more quickly
- When you are cooling a turkey or other large bird, removing the legs will help it cool more quickly
- It is important that leftover cooked rice is quickly cooled and then refrigerated
- Remember do not put food in the fridge when it is still hot, because it could raise the temperature of the fridge and allow other foods to get too warm
- Leftovers stored in the fridge should be eaten within three days
Your fridge should always be kept below 5° Celsius.
If the power is out for less than two hours, then the food in your fridge will be safe to consume. While the power is out, keep the fridge door closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer.
If the power is off for more than two hours, then check to see whether the food is still cold and remember, if in doubt, throw it out.
If you are still not sure what to do in this situation, contact your local Environmental Health Officer. Or you can call the safefood Helpline on 0800 085 1683 (NI) or 1850 40 4567 (ROI).