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My mother reheated some spaghetti in the microwave and served it to me. She hadn't drained it when originally cooking it, so it was stored in this yucky starchy water. What worries me is that this same batch of spaghetti noodles has been served to my father a few meals, and he became sick for a day. Could this way of storage have caused food poisoning?

You first want to make sure that the pasta (or any other food for that matter) was cooked proper and as safely as possible; meaning that there was no cross-contamination.

Once the pasta is cooked the water should be drained off so that the pasta does not soak up more water while being stored, which will make for a lower quality product. Some olive oil or butter can be added to the cooked pasta to avoid clumping or stickiness.

The cooked pasta should be stored in an airtight container in one or two servings per container. The container should also be dated and labeled.

The pasta in it's airtight container should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible (not to exceed two hours at room temperature) in order to reduce the chance of bacteria growth.

Leftover pasta should be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and then thrown out if not eaten. A good rule of thumb is "when in doubt throw it out".

To reheat the pasta bring the temperature up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit until heated thoroughly.


For additional information about storing and re-heating leftovers:



Answered by Sarah Janicek, B.S., former Extension Associate, Nutritional Sciences Extension, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension





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Last update: Friday, December 12, 2008


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