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Which Foods are Safe to Reheat in the Microwave? Avoid These 4 at all Costs


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Kim Lindsey, a registered dietitian based in Australia, told the Daily Mail about four foods that are very risky to reheat and four foods that are actually healthy, contrary to popular belief.

Unsafe: eggs

It seems like it can last forever – up to six weeks – in the fridge before you make it. But if you still have eggs from yesterday’s breakfast, there are more risks.

Eggs can carry salmonella bacteria, which cause food poisoning, and if left for a long time, the bacteria will have more time to thrive.

Lindsey says eggs stored between 40 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit are “dangerous.”

She said: “Pathogens can grow faster at this temperature. And if there are more pathogens and harmful bacteria in food, there is an increased risk of food poisoning when we eat it.”

The US Food and Drug Administration recommends not leaving eggs or dishes containing eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or one hour in hot weather.

The difficulty with the microwave is that it can heat things up a little unevenly. “Sometimes it’s hot at the edges and cold in the middle, or vice versa,” says Lindsey.

Unsafe: Rice

TikTok users claim that reheating leftover rice caused them food poisoning.

This is because cooked rice contains Bacillus cereus, a spore-forming bacterium commonly found in soil and vegetables.

They are found in many raw and unprocessed foods, including potatoes, peas, beans, and some spices.

“Rice is very risky,” Lindsey said. These spores are heat-resistant, so even when heated, they can still produce harmful pathogens.

Symptoms of illness caused by Bacillus cereus include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

Unsafe: spinach
Reheating spinach may be directly linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Leafy green vegetables like spinach contain compounds called nitrates. When heated, nitrates can break down into other compounds that increase the risk of cancer. Nitrates by themselves are harmless. However, bacteria that already live in the mouth and enzymes in the body can convert it to nitrites and then to nitrosamines. They have carcinogenic properties.

One study found that people get about 80% of their nitrate diet from vegetables.

Nitrates are also found in fennel, radishes, carrots and turnips.

Also, if spinach is not heated properly, listeria bacteria can live in it.

This can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that leads to fever, flu-like symptoms, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and even seizures.

Unsafe: potatoes

As with rice, the problem with potatoes is not the heat itself, but the fact that they stay outside for too long.

In addition, storing them at room temperature for more than two hours puts them in a “risk zone” that can lead to the growth of C. botulinum.

This causes food poisoning, a condition in which toxins attack the body’s nerves and can cause breathing difficulties.

This leads to symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

There is also an increased risk of food poisoning from baked potatoes cooked in foil.

Part of the risk associated with mashed potatoes, Lindsey says, comes from its perishable ingredients such as milk, butter and cream.

Safe: fish

Despite the negative reputation of fish for leaving an unpleasant odor in an office microwave, fish poses little risk when reheated the next day.

“The fish is completely safe to reheat,” Lindsey said.

And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that fresh seafood caught and then immediately frozen is safe to reheat.

Like rice and eggs, don’t store them at room temperature for more than two hours.

And while you can put it in the microwave without getting sick, heating it this way can dry it out and ruin its texture. Cooking it in the oven or on the stove can prevent it from drying out.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends storing cooked fish in the refrigerator for no more than three to four days and making sure it is cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safe: Meat

Deli meats have long been causing panic with listeria warnings.

However, Lindsey said there was no reason to be afraid. She added, “If it’s cooked and heated, it’s perfectly safe.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends heating deli meats and cheeses to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill listeria.

This condition is caused by a bacterial infection that someone gets after eating contaminated food.

Safe: milk

Because it’s a perishable food, there’s probably a little more concern, like having to specify an expiration date on the milk. So you have to make sure you stick to it,” Lindsey said.

However, according to Lindsey, heating to high temperatures can kill forms of bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli. The heat will destroy these bacteria so they can be safely consumed.

Safe: chicken

While chicken on the stovetop or in the oven will probably have the best texture and taste, it is still safe to reheat chicken in the microwave. The key is to turn it every two minutes until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

This will reduce the risk of salmonella infection.

Lindsey said the chicken poses a small safety risk unless it is left out for more than two hours.

The Food and Drug Administration also recommends storing cooked chicken in the refrigerator for no more than 1 to 2 days.

Source: Daily Mail

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