The number one source of food poisoning is undercooked meat. “Most raw poultry contains Campylobacter. It also may contain Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and other bacteria. Raw meat may contain Salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia, and other bacteria,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thoroughly cooking poultry and meat will destroy the bacteria, but you can’t tell if the meat is properly cooked just by looking. Always use a meat thermometer and cook food to a safe internal temperature. Watch out for these cooking mistakes that can make your food toxic.
Just because you cooked it once doesn’t mean it’s safe after it’s been relegated to leftovers. Leftovers should be refrigerated at 40°F or colder within 2 hours after preparation. Large cuts of meat, such as roasts or a whole turkey, should be divided into smaller quantities for refrigeration so they’ll cool quickly enough to prevent bacteria from growing. If you haven’t taken these precautions, when you use your leftovers in any of these leftovers recipes, you will need to cook your meat to the internal temperatures listed here. And please remember that when you use leftover meat in a cold salad, the same rule applies.