Everyday Meals

How many times can you reheat turkey? Crucial NHS food safety warning for leftovers

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The limbo between Christmas and New Year is a prime time for leftovers. But if you’re thinking of reheating any remaining turkey in your fridge, you should be aware of certain safety requirements.

The turkey from your Christmas Day dinner is perfectly safe to eat the following day.

You can enjoy it either as cold cuts from the fridge, or piping hot in a Turkey sandwich.

However, any longer than a day and your turkey may become unsafe to consume.

When reheating leftover turkey or other food, it is important you always ensure it is steaming hot all the way through.

Unfortunately, the NHS advises only reheating turkey one time.

It states: “Do not reheat food more than once.”

Whether or not your turkey is safe to eat is largely dependent on how well it has been stored.

According to The Food Standards Agency (FSA), leftovers should be cooled to room temperature before they are refrigerated.

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Then cover, wrap and place them in a sealed container.

According to NHS Live Well: “Keep cooked meat and poultry in the fridge – if they are left out at room temperature, the bacteria that causes food poisoning can grow and multiply.

“After you’ve feasted on the turkey, cool any leftovers as quickly as possible (within 90 minutes), cover them and put them in the fridge.”

Turkey can also be frozen for later use.

The NHS states: “If you’re putting leftovers in the freezer, you could divide them into portions so you can defrost only as much as you need.

“If you have defrosted leftovers, eat them within 24 hours.”

The FSA guidance notes: “When you come to use frozen leftovers, make sure you defrost them thoroughly, ideally in the fridge overnight.

“If this isn’t possible, use a microwave on the defrost setting.

“Always reheat leftovers until steaming hot.”

When serving cold turkey, only take out the portion you are going to use and ensure the rest of your leftovers remain in the fridge.

The NHS adds: “Do not leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day – as part of a buffet, for example.”

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