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Crockpot was off overnight


I was making split pea wsoup with ground turkey.

I had already sauted my vegetables and browned my turkey. I had added the peas and seasoning and had let them boil and even let them simmer for about 20 miinutes. But then it was about 10:30pm so I transfered everything to the hot pot. I thought I had it on "simmer" on the hotpot for over night cooking, but I awoke 8 hours later to find it was off.

Do I have to toss this stuff?

; 0

    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      second that - you have hot items placed in an enclosed environment for 8 hours, providing the perfect conditions to create a toxic bacteria soup.

      1. re: janniecooks

        Oh -- that is a vile visual.

        Thanks. It's gone already.

    2. I wouldn't toss it. I'd bring it back up to a high heat and let it cook at the high heat for about 5 mins. All your ingredients were already thoroughly cooked when you assembled it and I have never had problems with soup that was sitting for only 8 hours. If it were a shellfish or fish soup, I wouldn't, but something with thoroughly browned ground turkey, IMO you'd be fine (keeping in mind I'm not a health inspector).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Morganna

        Sorry but that's just not correct.

        Bacteria can produce spores and toxins that are very heat resistant and survive reheating and reboiling. They can make you very ill.

        It is VERY unsafe to eat food that has been sitting out, unrefrigerated, for 8 hours, even if it is subsequently reheated.

        If that were true there would be no need for refrigeration. You could just cook something, store it on the counter and then reheat it.

        hexepatty, you need to throw it out, I'm afraid.

        1. re: C. Hamster

          My experience doesn't hold with your statements, though perhaps the fact that I keep my home colder than most people (in the 65 degree range) helps. I do this a few times a year because I don't always remember to put dinner away, and I don't always think there's much risk from whatever it was I had. USUALLY I toss it, but in some cases, I don't because the risk is very low for a given dish.

          This particular soup is not -very- unsafe. It presents a moderate risk. If you're not immuno-compromised, a child, or elderly, then the occasional wandering bug is no problem for your system. All this paranoia about bugs gets right up my nose. We're sterilizing ourselves into immune deficiencies all over the place.

          The turkey was thoroughly browned, and that would have killed any bugs that -might- have been in it. Dried peas are not hot beds of bug activity. Sauteed vegetables, again, anything on them would be killed by that process. Assuming we're talking some canned or reconstituted broth (or homemade that had been properly stored) we're also talking about a very clean liquid. The longish boiling process to cook the peas in the soup would have killed any possible lingering bugs. The soup was then poured into a crock pot, and a lid was put in place. There were no living bugs at the point of transfer, and the lid on the crock pot makes the already low chance of the sorts of nasties you describe entering into the soup even less. Assuming her crock pot was actually clean when she put the soup in, there were no bugs living on the porcelain surface, either.

          The risk from reheating it to boiling is minimal, not "very unsafe".

          I'm not saying there's no risk at all, but even if there were some bacteria present, it wouldn't actually be a lot of harm to a relatively healthy individual (and actually can do some good by helping build up the body's defenses). Not in -this- particular soup, anyway.

          The toxins you allude to would have to have been present from the beginning in the turkey, because there's no way there were any bugs alive in the turkey after it being browned that could produce such toxins, and the bugs that produce those toxins do not typically survive in the air of the typical home. So there would be no opportunity for such toxins to develop after the point of the soup being cooked initially.

          I suppose I could get off my lazy bum and research this more thoroughly with references to support my claims, but honestly, I really should get to work.

          As I said before, if there were -fish- in the soup, I'd recommend tossing it. Fish is a different thing altogether.

          What I -should- have said was all the above, along with this "if you're a relatively healthy person, the risk of getting ill from this particular batch of soup would appear to be fairly low, assuming you keep a relatively clean kitchen in general. You need to decide if you'd like to take that risk." or something along those lines.

          1. re: Morganna

            "I suppose I could get off my lazy bum and research this more thoroughly with references to support my claims, but honestly, I really should get to work."

            Yes, facts to support your claims would be good because they would basically turn a host of widely accepted food safety practices topsey turvey. The 40-140 safety zone, for example.

            Plus your assumptions are sketchy at best. There are a whole lot of ways that toxin-producing bacteria (e.g., bacillus cerus) could have done their work, cross-contamination, for example.

            And the notion that a "risk" for a reasonably healthy person is minimal is essentailly saying that you might get a nasty case of diarrhea but you won't end up in the hospital. Because that's what happens with food poisoning. IMO the risk-reward calculus is not in the OP's favor here.

            1. re: Morganna

              Fish is a different thing?

              Turkey and poultry can easily easily harbor salmonella. With a nice warming up by browning, then an 8 hour sit in a closed pot... it sounds like a really bad idea to eat this in any way.

              Would you eat a raw chicken that had been left in the trunk of a car for 8 hours? Same deal.

        2. You Have maybe 5 Dollars worth of food there ........if someone gave you 5 dollars for the pleasure of making you very very sick would you take it?? Unless its Kobe Beef or truffles it is not worth it...

          1 Reply
          1. re: coffeecup

            That's my sentiment exactly. The peas, cheap! Celery/Onions/Carrots: cheap. Ground turkey... a freeby from family.

            What i'm now doing is researching CROCKPOTS! I want a new one (I was using boyfriends ANCIENT crockpot that has no timer settings!) Looking into this as we speak.

            Thanks everyone!

          2. Adios and Au revoir to Mr Tom and the Veggies. It was in the "Danger Zone" way too long.

            1. I agree with Morganna. If everything was boiled/simmered for 20 minutes, then transferred, hot, to the crock pot and covered, the amount of nasties present would be very small. Reproduction over the course of 8 hours would still result in a very small number of critters. Anyone who's ever tried to culture yeast (for brewing) in sterile conditions from very small colonies of starter knows how long it takes the little guys to build up to significant size colonies. Much longer than 8 hours. I'd have reheated and enjoyed, and I'd bet any amount of money I'd have done so in excellent health, including the next day.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bat Guano

                Curious as to the source for your facts, as well.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Well, there aren't really any facts in evidence - just my opinion, which is based on having done similar things to what hexepatty was contemplating, i.e. reheating and eating, numerous times. I could be wrong, but it hasn't caught up with me yet.

              2. It's probably too late at this point but from a university source:


                For more details, click on the link to the FDA study. It's not worth it. My parents' friends had a big dinner party and did that. Most of the party ended up in the ER and had food poisoning for days. It's like driving w/out a seatbelt--most people don't die but it's not worth the risk.

                1. The 2 bacteria types that you worry about are bacillus sp. and Staph sp. , both are present EVERYWHERE IN THE ENVIRONMENT! With that said, just the transfer cook allow those to multiply. It would not take much to cause a problem. In 8 hours you have 24 life cycles and one bacteria would grow to 6 × 10(23) bacteria, more than enough to get you sick.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PaulaT

                    My husband has had food poisoning twice, once from coleslaw he left out on a fishing trip for part of a day (mayo based) and another time from eggs that I fed him (yes, I felt horrible). He cooks for a living now and believes that some foods when re heated to over 160 degrees are safe to eat (would NEVER do this where he cooks) BUT as a rule anymore, we go with the saying "when in doubt, throw it out" and anyone who has ever suffered through one to two days of food poisoning would probably agree. I ask myself, is it worth it to take the chance, especially if your feeding it to loved ones? My answer is almost always "no".

                    Hexepatty, I am glad to read you didn't take the chance!

                  2. I would probably toss it, but "should I" is another matter. Think Pasteurization. If you heat it to a high enough temperature for a long enough time, you'll almost certainly kill all of the bad guys.

                    If you were to simmer it for, say, a half hour, I suspect you won't be visiting the ER. I wouldn't cook it in a slow cooker after that wait, though it would probably still be fine if it reaches a sufficiently high temperature for sufficient time. I have a chart about this somewhere (from the Canadian government), but I'll be damned if I can find it at the moment.

                    For decades now, I have made meat stocks (no vegetables) that I store in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil every day. No casualties yet. With veggies, you get an extra sensory hint: if the soup goes sour, as it can, it is very obvious (though the sour soup won't cause harm if heated sufficiently).

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: embee

                      For years I have kept various "perpetual soup pots" going on the stove top for days or weeks on end, adding leftovers as I go along. They never go in the fridge. They are never left on heat overnight, although I do generally keep them covered. I typically bring them up to a boil for a while in the morning. I have never had any form of food poisoning from them. I think this whole "fraidycat" toxin business is basically bureaucrats engaging in CYA behavior (the same people who insist on nonsense like requiring butter and cheese be kept cold until being served in a restaurant). If the bacteria are killed by cooking, and the pot is left covered so more have a hard time getting in there, I really don't think there is a material risk by leaving something which has been thoroughly cooked out for 8-10 hours. The sky is not falling. If this stuff were really a material concern there would be a lot more dead people than there are (think of all those Frenchmen who die from eating that unpasteurized warm cheese, and yes I realize Louis P. was a Frenchman).

                      To each his own, but I just don't buy it.

                      1. re: johnb

                        I've definitely risked some stuff and been fine. But, everyone is different. A child would probably be at a higher risk than a normal adult. But, even adults vary from person to person. Some people have more stomach acid than others, some may have other issues that prevent their bodies from fighting an attack of bacteria, etc.. So, for that reason alone, I wouldn't advise anyone to do what I do simply because it's worked for me.

                        1. re: johnb

                          Speaking of France, I've heard of cassoulets in France that have been going like this, with new food added and served every day, literally for decades, in the same pot. It's a time-tested practice, whereas the new warnings about toxins that don't die when heated seems relatively new. Maybe there are new bugs out there, but I tend to think it's a bureaucratic CYA thing, as you state.

                          1. re: Bat Guano

                            Warnings about toxins aren't new at all . Toxins are a prime reason you must refrigerate cooked food, since that prevents their growth. It's not the same CYA advice that results in overcooked food.

                            If it were safe to cook food and leave it out if it's to be reheated then why would you ever bother to refrigerate leftovers? Also, if the cassoulet is kept above 140 then it is above the danger zone. Still, I'll have the onion soup instead thanks.


                            "The main source of Bacillus cereus are contaminated cooked foods subjected to inadequate post-cooking temperature control during cooling and storage.

                            It is frequently found in rice dishes, occasionally pasta, meat or vegetable dishes, dairy products, soups, sauces and sweet pastry products.

                            ... Bacillus cereus can form spores ...(that) are not easily destroyed by heat and will survive cooking. If the food is cooled slowly or kept warm for some time before serving they will germinate producing bacteria which multiply rapidly at these temperatures and produce a very heat resistant toxin which will not be destroyed by subsequent heating.

                            ...The incubation period for Bacillus cereus food poisoning is between 1 to 5 hours. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Onset of symptoms can be very sudden, but it is usually over fairly quickly. It is unlikely to be fatal."

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Where is your quote and information from?

                              1. re: Bat Guano

                                quote was from http://www.international-food-safety....

                                But the information it contains is widely availbale from a host of different sources: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&am...

                        2. re: embee

                          You can't pasteurize meat.

                        3. No, you didn't have to toss the food. It was cooked when it went into the crockpot and you were going to further simmer the batch. Unless you're worried about some contaminant source you haven't mentioned.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            for all those who haven't had food poisoning, more power to you if you do things the way you say, for those of who have- we won't take the risk...most of the times, it won't kill you, but make dieing feel preferable.
                            The continual pot, still adds heat, so I would call thata different situation and cheese is not in the same class...cheese is a different animal.

                            1. re: PaulaT

                              I have had "food poisoning" - and is sometimes too easily thrown around in the US. Salmonella and e. coli. No picnic. Did not get either in my own home where I would have not pitched the soup left out overnight. I agree with Sam. You can't leave things out indefinitely but there's no need for the hysteria either.
                              If all this was true, we wouldn't be here. Our grandparents would have died off generations ago.

                          2. Facts are facts. Bacteria produce spores and toxins that do not die when food is reheated. They can make you very sick.

                            Reheating food that has been left in the danger zone does not make it safe to eat.

                            It is a dangerous practice.

                            If you do this you may or may not get food poisoning. But if you don't (or don't realize that you have) it still does not prove that it's safe. It means you are lucky.