Health Watch - Thanksgiving: Food Spoilage

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about planning your Thanksgiving meal. This is a meal that often sits out on a table for a long time if you’re serving buffet style, or leftovers may linger throughout the afternoon. That could leave you vulnerable to food spoilage.

Cream or milk-based foods and meats – the staples of Thanksgiving dinner – are prone to spoiling when they sit out at room temperature too long. Dr. Vickie Vaclavik, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says you should remember the two-hour rule. These foods shouldn’t sit at room temperature for longer than this. Put away leftovers right after a meal instead of leaving them out, or else keep these foods warm or on ice. On a buffet, put out smaller amounts and then replenish the dishes frequently. When you’re replenishing the buffet, use a new container instead of putting fresh food on the old platter or dish.

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November 2010


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