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Avoid waste when storing a bowl of leftovers in the refrigerator. Cover the bowl with a ceramic plate instead of using plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours after cooking. But don't keep the food if it's been standing out for more than two hours. Don't taste test it, either. Even a small amount of contaminated food can cause illness.

Date leftovers so they can be used within a safe time. Generally, they remain safe when refrigerated for three to five days. If in doubt, throw it out, says FDA microbiologist Kelly Bunning, Ph.D., associate senior science adviser in CFSAN: "It's not worth a foodborne illness for the small amount of food usually involved."
(Compiled from the FDA Consumer  - latest revision, July 2002)

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