- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Fat grams: How to track your dietary fat
- Yerba mate: Is it safe to drink?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- Sea salt vs. table salt: What's the difference?
- Vegetable juice: As good as whole vegetables?
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (18)
- Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
- Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?
- Chocolate: Does it impair calcium absorption?
- see all in Nutritional supplements
Is it safe to store food in takeout containers?
I often bring home food from restaurants. Is it OK to leave food in the takeout containers?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
It's probably safe to leave food in takeout containers. But the smart play is to wrap them in airtight packaging or seal them in storage containers. These practices help keep bacteria out.
Here's another safety tip: Don't let prepared food sit out — in your car or on the counter — for more than two hours. The reason is that bacteria can grow rapidly in food that's unrefrigerated. And some bacteria make a poison or toxin that can make you ill, hence the term "food poisoning."
If you don't plan on eating takeout food immediately, you have two choices. You can keep it hot in a preheated oven at an internal temperature of 140 F (60 C) or higher. Or you can divide food into smaller portions, place in shallow contains and refrigerate. Plan to reheat the food to a temperature of 165 F (74 C) just before serving.Next question
High-fructose corn syrup: Any health concerns?
- Turkey fundamentals. FoodSafety.gov. http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/turkey_leftovers.html. Accessed July 30, 2012.
- Safe handling of take-out foods. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Safe_Handling_Take-Out_Foods/index.asp. Accessed July 30, 3012.
- Take-out sanity. FightBac.org. http://www.fightbac.org/safe-food-handling/safety-in-all-seasons/240-take-out-sanity. Accessed July 30, 2012.