Meal prep is usually meant to be a week's worth of meals but how does that work with the three or four days in the fridge most leftovers are considered safe for? Is three or four days too conservative then or are meal preppers risking their health with meals five days or so old?

Added: My question is, in spite of recommendations not to exceed 3-4 or 3-5 days in fridge, how are meal preppers doing fine with eating foods a week old? (I assume they are anyway). For example I have six day old chicken and veg I have just frozen and debating over that would be fine for a meal prepper I think but not fine if following the recommendations.

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    If you're worried you can always freeze some for the end of the week. Freezing helps anyway - you get as much variety by cooking fewer bigger batches compared to cooking many dishes at once. – Chris H Aug 19 '19 at 11:23
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    To build on what Chris H mentioned ... see cooking.stackexchange.com/q/149/67 – Joe Aug 20 '19 at 0:43
  • @Joe thank you. My point why are there two sets of rules, it seems that meal preppers go with up to 7 days with food in the fridge but nearly everyone else goes with 3-5 days. I understand what food safety people say and it's better to freeze stuff but meal preppers seem to get away with one week in the fridge. I'm wondering about the disconnect between the two. This is one example of one week in the fridge. asweetpeachef.com/meal-prep-for-weight-loss – padma Aug 20 '19 at 1:15
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    @padma The issue you're seeing is different risk tolerances. The official guidelines are meant to be safe for everyone, and thus declare food unsafe very quickly. They have a low risk tolerance. An individual may choose to accept a higher risk of illness in exchange for convenience. Storing food for 3 days might mean a 1 in 100 000 chance of getting ill, whereas storing for 7 days might mean a 1 in 10 000 chance (numbers are completely made up by me). The risk is 10 times higher, but you're still going to not get ill most of the time. – Johanna Aug 20 '19 at 6:24
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    @Johanna is right. Those 3-day guidelines (24h for rice) apply not just to home cooking but to catering, including catering for people without healthy immune systems. That also means large numbers of people exposed to one potential issue, so you've got to build lots of safety margin into the rules. Purely as an anecdote to indicate , I don't always cool things as fast as I should or use them as quickly as I should, but I've never given myself food poisoning. There can't really be a binary safe/not safe switch when you're talking about bacterial growth – Chris H Aug 20 '19 at 12:36

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