Smartypantz, taking it one day at a time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Top 10 Food Mistakes - #10

leftovers//(© Tom Grill/Getty Images)

Food Mistake #10: You save restaurant leftovers to reheat later
If you stop for a movie after the meal, your health may be in jeopardy. The food needs to be in your fridge or freezer within 2 hours (1 hour if it's over 90°F outside) or you're risking food poisoning. Another concern: nuking leftovers in take-home food bags, pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers, microwave-popcorn containers, and even on some paper plates. These can leach dangerous chemicals into the food when heated, reports Lauren Sucher, a spokesperson for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer organization in Washington, DC. The chemicals include phthalates and bisphenol A, which are known to cause reproductive damage in animals, as well as fluorotelomers, which can release fumes that cause a flulike sickness. The seriousness of the danger remains controversial. "But why take a chance when it's easy to reduce your exposure?" asks Sucher.

microwaving leftovers//(© Turba/zefa/Corbis)

Smarter Move
When nuking food, place it in microwave-safe containers, preferably glass or ceramic. And make sure you reheat those leftovers to at least 165°F to kill off any nasty bugs; bring soups and gravies to a boil.

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