The Safest Ways to Reheat Leftover Food and Avoid Food Poisoning

The microwave is a versatile tool when it comes to reheating yesterday’s meatloaf, but you need to take extra care to make sure these leftovers are safe enough to become today’s lunch. Here’s how.

Food poisoning is never fun, so warmth is the key to killing bacteria that cause foodborne illness. This is why you need to make sure the food is hot. So instead of just putting it in the microwave and forgetting about it, pay a little more attention to the reheating process by following these tips:

  • Ensure even heating: Before placing food leftovers in the microwave, spread the food evenly in a microwave-safe container to ensure even cooking, then cover to retain moisture.
  • Heat the meat thoroughly : clean the meat of the bones, as the bones can prevent it from completely heating up. Even ready-to-eat foods should be reheated to fully hot temperatures.
  • Use the correct power level: Set the power level according to the type and size of the product. Lower power is good for things like eggs and oatmeal, and for larger cuts of meat for a longer period of time. Please note that power levels will vary depending on the power of your microwave oven.
  • Stir: pause halfway through cooking, remove food to mix and turn over. Do this even if your microwave has a turntable.

One interesting thing to note is that the food continues to cook for a while even after you take it out of the microwave, thanks to our old friend. But the end result and taste is a completely different matter.

Microwaves and Food Safety | USDA


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