Campus News

Associate professor discloses foods to avoid eating as leftovers

Tracey Brigman, registered dietitian and clinical associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ nutritional sciences department, spoke with about best practices when eating leftover food.

“Most leftovers will safely last three or four days if they are refrigerated within two hours and packed in an airtight container,” she said. “But there are some ingredients that are more prone to bacterial growth and may need to be consumed much sooner.”

Hardboiled eggs, ground meat, cantaloupe melon, raw chicken and cooked rice are some foods that experts recommend eating on the same day you cook or open them to avoid getting sick.

According to Brigman, the high level of moisture in ground meat makes it more likely to attract bacteria when it gets cold.

“Bacteria from the surface of raw, ground meats and sausage can be mixed into the product during the grinding process,” she said. “This is why ground meats must be cooked all the way through to kill bugs.”

Because rice is prone to the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus cereus, cooked rice can only last about one day in the refrigerator before it spoils.

“Cooking doesn’t kill the spores, so if you leave your cooked rice or pasta out at room temperature, the spores can multiply quickly and produce a significant amount of toxin,” Brigman said.