Most of the food on Thanksgiving will end up in our stomachs, but some of it will likely go in the refrigerator.

However, state health officials say when you put those leftovers in your fridge can make a big difference.
When it comes to clearing the table on Thanksgiving, the Hawaii State Department of Health recommends the sooner, the better.

"It's a good idea that once people make their first pass through after two hours, you really start putting things away," Peter Oshiro of the Hawaii State Department of Health said.

According to Oshiro, holidays like Thanksgiving can be the perfect environment for bacteria, especially here in Hawaii.

"We have a tropical climate here so you have to be cognizant of the time you leave things out. After two to three hours bacteria really starts to grow exponentially," Oshiro said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that over 120,000 people are hospitalized every year from food-borne illness resulting in 3,000 related deaths.

According to Oshiro, the most important thing you can do to reduce the spread of germs is to have everyone wash their hands.

Oshiro also says that seven days is the maximum amount of time that food should be left in the fridge.