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VERIFY: Here's when to throw out your Thanksgiving leftovers

The Verify team spoke with nutrition experts about when those delicious leftovers need to be thrown out. The day to circle on the calendar is Monday.

WASHINGTON — Question:

How long can you keep Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge, before it's time to toss them out? 


Three to 4 days, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. That means that people have until Monday to throw the food out, or freeze them, where they can last two to six months. 



The Verify team is here to gobble up misinformation, and answer viewer questions big and small. 

Each and every holiday season, posts surface online, with people wondering how long is too long to keep those Thanksgiving leftovers.

To get the answer, the Verify team spoke with Isabel Maples, a registered dietician from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Our team also looked through the USDA website. 

The short answer, according to our experts, is three to four days. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, the leftovers will need to be tossed out, according to the USDA.

"After four days, spoilage bacteria can cause food to develop a bad smell or taste,” the guidance on the USDA website reads. 

Maples said that leftovers can also be moved to the freezer, where it can be stored for two to six months. She warned that food can over time develop "pathogenic bacteria," which you can't smell or taste. 

“A sniff test is not a good idea," she said. 

So, circle your calendar for Monday. That's when the leftovers need to be thrown out or moved to the freezer. 

"After a memorable holiday meal," Maples said. "The last thing you want to be remembered for is feeding your friends and family lethal leftovers.”

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