6 On Your Side: Thanksgiving & Food Poisoning

6 On Your Side: Thanksgiving & Food Poisoning

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Could food poisoning ruin your thanksgiving? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thanksgiving is one of the biggest days for food poisoning.

Part of the fun of thanksgiving are the leftovers. However, Brian Railsback with the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health District says bacteria starts to grow when your getting ready to relax after dinner.

"Most of it is diarrhea and vomiting," Railsback said. "It can be anywhere from 8 to 36 hours after you eat something."

The longer it sits out, the more opportunity for bacteria to multiply. According to the Food Safety Administration, the top five foods that can cause the most food poisoning are fruits, fish, chicken, vegetables and dairy.

Railsback says anything cold should be stored at 41 degrees and below. Any hot food items should be kept at 135 degrees and above.

"Anything in between is the zone where bacteria can start growing on the food," Railsback said. "If its been out of that zone for over four hours that's when bacteria can start growing on the food. When you digest it without reheating properly, that's when you can get sick."

If that happens, you're better off throwing it away then risking food poisoning.

"If you're just bringing it over to somebody, just keep in mind that four hour rule," Railsback said. "Prepare it and make sure they're going to be eating it within four hours. There's some pretty elaborate desserts out there and a lot of them have dairy in it. A lot of people don't think about it and they'll leave them sitting out on the dessert table all day long."

Leftovers can last up to four days if they're refrigerated. Leftover turkey can last up to six months if you freeze it. To avoid getting sick, divide your leftovers into small portions. Use shallow containers and refrigerate quickly.