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Left cheese out overnight; unsafe?

I accidentally left some still factory-sealed cheese on the counter overnight rather than putting it in the refrigerator like I'm supposed to. Is it now unsafe to eat?

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  1. I would eat it, but then again my stomach can take just about anything. I doubt that it has gone bad.

    1. Depends - hard cheeses/aged chheses should be fine. Cream cheeses not so much.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodhypnosis

        Monterey Jack and Cheddar. Young, but not cream cheese.

        1. re: aynrandgirl

          I'm with roro. It should be fine, especially since it was still sealed. I would eat it. If you're really worried, just eat it sooner rather than later.

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          As Jane Grigson (or was it Elizabeth David?) once wrote, cheese is its own type of preserved food. It will be just fine. In fact she -- whichever she was -- was against storing cheese in the fridge.

          1. re: jmckee

            Close your eyes. Picture a cute young Swiss boy way up in the high mountain valleys tending his sheep.
            A week ago before he left the village far down below he put a big chunk of hard cheese and a big piece of cured meat in his pack, along with some hard biscuits.
            The cheese/cured meat/biscuits will need to last him a few more days before his brother hikes up to take over from him.
            Now open your eyes and eat the cheese.

        2. Hard cheeses are aged. Cream cheese is allowed to come to room temperature before baking......

          You should be fine.

          1. As some others have said..... hard cheeses will be just fine overnight. The standard health department code rule is 4 hours without refrigeration, but an aged hard cheese is not going to go bad overnight unless you're somewhere near the equator and it's 100+ degrees and humid at night.

            1. the french never refrigerate their cheese

              2 Replies
              1. re: thew

                Exactly, and neither do I (except for the "fresh" cheeses such as boccocini or marscapone).

                However the FDA does not like to hear that.

                1. re: lisa13

                  I agree -- the FDA makes so many stupid rules about cheese I think they would prefer that we not eat cheese at all. I leave my hard cheeses out for days or even weeks at a time (depending on how hard). It's fine.

              2. Cheese has been around, being stored, eaten, and providing nutrition, since before history was being recorded, say 10,000 years or so. Mechanical refrigeration has been around for, maybe 150 years. Draw your own conclusion.

                1. With semi-frequency, I take cheddar and mozzarella cheeses with me on five-day long camping trips without refrigeration, eat them on day 5, and have never gotten sick. Cheeses can 'sweat' a little if they get warm, but otherwise, the taste and texture don't suffer, either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cimui

                    I worked in a pizzeria many years ago, and when the shipments of mozzarella cheese delivery came in, the Italian owners of the joint instructed us to leave it out of the cooler overnite (at least) lo let it "ripen" slightly. and develop more flavor.
                    I'll admit to being skeptical about that procedure, but the fact is that it never caused a problem...and it really added a distinctive and positive "something" to the pizzas.
                    It improved the taste immensely.

                  2. I do that kind of thing all the time, and I always eat the cheese. It's safe, you'll be fine.

                    1. I come from a long line of 'cheese people'.

                      My great-great-grandfather emigrated to the U.S. to open a cheese factory.

                      My great-grandfather was a dairy farmer.

                      My grandfather was a cheese salesman.

                      Their aged cheese was never chilled/refrigerated. My grandfather would have heartily disapproved of refrigerating cheddar - it detracts from the taste and texture of the cheese.

                      And seeing as how they all lived long enough to at least reproduce, I'd say your cheese is perfectly safe. I'd sure eat it!

                      1. my mum used to put cheese in the larder (pantry) when we were kids, butter too and I am still alive and have 3 kids of my own! The French sell their cheeses in outdoor markets which seem to sit out all day in the heat. I still keep my butter out in a butter dish and I live in Florida.

                        1. Cheese is a product that is fine left out overnight (even cream cheese). Generally all cheeses (now I exclude cream cheese) processing is not a refrigerated one and the actual result is actually positive. And as some have said cheese has been around along time before refrigeration - it was actually the process to preserve milk products. While Health Departments tend to over react, it is mostly because they are over seeing restaurants handling and serving of larger quantities to a whole lot more people than you or I would. I prefer my cheeses unrefrigerated.

                          1. I love my cheese left out to get soft and warm like my Dutch mother always ate it. Never had a problem.

                            1. uh really? It's fine. When that cream cheese gets moldy, don't eat it. If it's processed american you could probably leave it out for six months. If a natural cheese, it will get riper faster if left out, so when it starts to taste nasty or becomes covered with mold, well then you know it's time to stop eating it.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Teague

                                Actually, you can just cut off the moldy part and keep going. Or, eat the moldy part as well -- it's good for your too. As far as tasting nasty goes, lots of folks find that lots of well-aged cheeses taste "nasty." Others won't eat it until it gets to that stage. Your choice. But dangerous?? Not likely.

                                1. re: Teague

                                  Well, it's been five years since aynrandgirl posted. Maybe she's still alive, maybe not.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    lol I was going to respond, but then I noticed it was a thread from 2008.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Well, you may notice that Sam Fujisaka responded to this thread, and how long has he been gone? And someone just responded to him! Maybe he reads Chowhound up in Heaven.

                                      Actually, I kinda like when the old ones come back to life; I recall one recently that had started back in 2005. And it's nice to see names like Sam's reappear.

                                      1. re: johnb

                                        Yes, some names are nicer to read than others, for sure.

                                  2. It has been 6+ years since you asked this question, if you are still on the fence about it, I think you should toss it. Hope this helps.

                                    1. At Whole Foods they consistently leave cheese out on displays at room temp. I would eat this without thinking twice about it.

                                      1. This post may be 6 years old, but....I just left the cheese out overnight for the enchiladas. Forgot to grab it when I was putting a lot of stuff in the extra fridge. It's super soft, kinda greasy looking. but, it tastes fine and I'm gonna use it! Oh, it's monterey Jack. So, glad the post is still here and that some of you are having fun commenting! Thanks

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: karatecook

                                          Lol! I just realized how old the post is!

                                          1. re: karatecook

                                            Yup i had this question and was glad the answers are still here. I did not like wasting food and since it was pasteurized i kinda thought my white american chez will be ok?

                                          2. Haha - awesome. I just did the same thing and my wife refuses to eat it and wants to throw it out but I thought that was ridiculous so I asked google and I arrived at this conversation.

                                            Thanks everyone. It will be eaten.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: robberg

                                              If she refuses to eat it, that's more for you!

                                              1. and aynrandgirl was never heard from again...

                                                pity. I bet that cheese is just getting to the point of good now.

                                                1. Just saw this title and had to chuckle.

                                                  1. Just forgot my string cheese in my purse for a day. Thanks for the posts. It was yummy. If the runs hit me, I'll let you all know.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: 2kdezignz

                                                        I left string cheese in a purse or diaper bag before and threw it out. You can bet I won't do that again! We'll that sucker! BTW, we did eat the cheese that I questioned about and it was great. Thanks for help everone.

                                                      2. St. Andre is better if you leave it out overnight.

                                                        1 Reply