How many times have you opened your fridge and found yourself staring into a silvery sea of foil-wrapped leftover food? Did you know that while it is convenient and easy to simply wrap your plate with a sheet of tin foil, you are also putting you and your family at risk? There are associated health dangers to wrapping your leftovers in foil and here’s why you should stop doing it.
Bacteria Can Grow
Food naturally has bacteria and some of them can be deadly or dangerous. The only other time that the bacteria is almost completely removed is when it is cooked in high temperatures or heat. However, staph and Bacillus cereus, two bacteria that can’t be killed with heat, can still live on food. These bacteria need air in order to reproduce and spread. When a cooked meal is left at room temperature for at least 2 hours, these bacteria begin to multiply at rapid rates, which can be scary because it causes foodborne illnesses. Foil doesn’t completely cut off the air and even if you think you’ve sealed off the food pretty tightly, you are only allowing the bacteria to grow. It is important to find airtight containers to place your food in. This will make your food last longer too.
When we buy fresh meat and vegetables, they are naturally contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This is why food needs to be handled properly and cooked thoroughly. Washing fresh fruits and vegetables helps remove dirt and germs and meats that have been cooked through are safe to eat. Foodborne illnesses usually hit people when the food isn’t cooked well or cleaned thoroughly. The symptoms of having a foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Foodborne illnesses aren’t limited to just food; you can also get it from contaminated water and from another person as well. Getting sick from contaminated food is more common than you think. The body usually heals itself with a few days of feeling off but if it turns excessive and you begin having chills or fever, you should head to the hospital.
The Right Containers
It is highly recommended that you invest in shallow containers that provide airtight storage for your food. Make sure to also keep food within two hours of cooking. It would be a waste to have it thrown away because of improper storage. Recipes that include dairy and meat are very prone to bacterial growth and this goes to show how important it is that it be kept in airtight containers. Any food that has been sitting in room temperature for more than a couple of hours should be thrown out.
A Helpful Tip
Let’s say you prepared a lot of food for a gathering, and as gatherings go, leftovers are expected. Here’s a tip that’s going to save you: set aside some food in the fridge in airtight containers and then the rest can be kept in the freezer. Make sure to always use airtight containers no matter what to keep those bacteria from multiplying!