If your leftovers are properly packed and kept, they can survive up to four days in the refrigerator. Covering a dish with foil and throwing it in the fridge is a quick and easy way for most people to keep food. Wrapping your food in aluminum foil, on the other hand, is a simple method to expose yourself to health risks.
Bacteria require air to flourish in the same way that we do. Some bacteria that cause foodborne diseases, such as Staph and Bacillus cereus, generate toxins that are not eliminated by high cooking temperatures. According to the Washington State Department of Health, germs develop fast when a hot meal is left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Because aluminum foil does not entirely protect your food from the air, it poses the same risk. “When there is air present, germs may develop quicker, so you really want to buy the right containers and pack things properly,” says Lindsay Malone, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic. “Otherwise, your food would go bad.”
If you're going to save those leftovers, here are some packaging tips:
- To speed up the chilling process and keep bacteria away from your food, always store it in shallow, airtight containers.
- Make careful to store the food in the fridge within two hours, before the germs can cause havoc. Dairy and meat items are especially susceptible to microbial development, emphasizing the importance of using airtight containers for any and all leftovers.
- Food that has been left out for more than two hours should be discarded.
- Be aware of the items that should not be stored in the refrigerator.
Source: Reader's Digest