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How Long Should You Keep Leftovers, According To The USDA

June 14, 2019
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If your Sunday cookathons aim to provide you meals to last throughout the entire week, you may want to reconsider. According to the USDA, leftovers aren't meant to stretch that long.

Taking to social media, the federal food safety agency revealed, "Cooked meals are only safe for up to 4 days in the fridge."

Meredith Carothers, a specialist with the department, tells TODAY Food that meal prep should be considered leftovers, which can spoil after a few days in the fridge.

"After about four days is when that spoilage bacteria starts kicking in. Exactly how long it takes depends on other components — a citrus acidic sauce, for example, could preserve something longer," says Carothers, noting that a really cold fridge could buy you an extra day or two.