The problem is that there are a lot of variables that go into the calculation:
- How good was your hygiene when handling the food? (After cooking, packaging, etc)
- Was the meat left out at room temperature or cooked and then immediately packed and cooled?
- Did you cook it thoroughly to pasteurize it?
- How well is your fridge maintaining its temperature?
- Is anyone that would be consuming it have a weakened immune system or have pre-existing GI issues?
- Will the food be immediately reheated and consumed or spend more time at room temperature?
Many people can probably get away with eating food that’s been in the fridge that’s past the recommendations… but restaurants have other considerations as they don’t know who the food might be served to or exactly how it will be used in the future.
If you’re practicing good hygiene habits, and your fridge is known to be working properly, you should be fine at 4 days. If you’re cooking for children, the elderly, or anyone who’s already sick, you might want to make sure it gets eaten earlier.
If you’re fighting with some weird reoccurring mold problem in your house that you just can’t get to finally go away… well, even three days might be pushing it.