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Oops I goofed

  • j
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I left chicken wrapped in plastic and beef chuck roast out for 22 hours. Any chance either is safe to eat?

  1. I vote no. No, no, no.

    1. I vote no as well.
      So sad, I know. But, you will probably spend less time remembering the wasted meat than you would otherwise spend remembering yourself hanging onto a toilet for dear life.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rabaja

        +1 - I vote no as well. I've had food poisoning before and it is not pretty (imagine laying in a hospital bed, dehydrated and an IV attached)! We all know the chicken is a no no right off the bat. But I wouldn't even try the beef after that long. Give a ~sigh~ and toss it.

        1. re: boyzoma

          Oh - I forgot to mention I was 8 month's pregnant at the time. Imagine that one if you can! And fortunately it wasn't chicken, but it was fish. Please don't chance it. It's not worth it.

          1. re: boyzoma

            Fish, my dear, can be the worst food poisoning of all!

            1. re: boyzoma

              oh eeewwww, icky, poor thing. being pregnant is hard enough with all that too.
              I also got food poisoning on fish, the mere phrase fish tacos now takes on a whole new meaning bleck.........

              1. re: iL Divo

                My food poisoning was on fish as well. Consequently, I don't eat much fish. I cringe at the term fish tacos as well!

        2. No on the meat if it was raw, period. I know I'll hear it for this but if the beef was cooked I say yes, and only because, during the last hurricaine we had here, I had cooked beef in my fridge when the power went out. The next day, we heated it up to simmering and ate it. JMO and I confess that I take more chances than most.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cherylptw

            I'd actually smell the meat and, depending how hot it was in the room, think about eating it if it smelled okay. I certainly would cook it to well-done - stew or something like that. Chicken? I don't think so.

            I also confess that I'm a follower of George Carlin's "Give Your Immune System A Workout To Keep It Strong!" movement, and I pick stuff up off the floor and use it.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Same here on the meat, if it was reasonably cool in the kitchen, and on the floor issue...a bowl of daube tipped partly on to the floor last night, picked it up, rinsed the pieces, and boiled the whole thing up again for a bit. No compunctions. You gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die.
              Having lived in Taipei and eaten all over the place there I'm sure that the meat we ate had been hanging in a market in the heat for a while before we ate it, to no ill effect.

              1. re: oakjoan

                oh you mean the 5 second rule doesn't apply? hahahahahahah.........
                I'm a great blower of food that's touched the ground, 5 seconds works for me *)

              2. re: Cherylptw

                '' I confess that I take more chances than most.''

                me too but am a stickler with a cutting board/read board/chopping block, all being the same thing, I get out the antibacterial soap and wash it right now, whereas many probably get out the sponge and give it a once over

              3. For no real reason - that I can think of at the moment - I would be more inclined to keep the beef and stew it - braise it, etc.... than the chicken - where do you live (how cool was it in the kitchen or where ever you left it)?

                1. Absolutely not.

                  If cooking the meat made it safe to eat, no one would have a refrigerator. Cooking will not make it safe to eat.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Yeah, it's a little-known fact that the invention of the refrigerator was what allowed modern humans to evolve. Prior to that time, not a single individual survived to adulthood. And in parts of the world that don't have refrigeration today, nobody ever eats meat.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      C'mon. People died of cut fingers back then. The infant mortality rate was so high that even into the 20'th century, it was recommended that children NOT be named prior to the fifth birthday, because there was no point in getting attached.

                      Yeah, people eat stuff that's partially spoiled or even wholly rotten - because they're STARVING and you'll eat anything when you're starving. That doesn't mean it's good for you. Food poisoning causes diarrhea and vomiting. Diarrhea and vomiting cause dehydration. This leads to a disproportionate number of deaths among the young, the elderly (and elderly was about 50 until fairly recently even in this country), and those who are already ill or debilitated.

                      The rest - healthy young adults - may not die, but given a choice between diarrhea, vomiting, and horrible cramping, and NOT risking any of those things, I know which side of the equation I'm coming down on!

                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                        Nonsense. People have never died of cut fingers. People died when they cut their fingers and bacteria got into their systems though those cuts.

                        Fully cooking meat kills all the bacteria and other pathogens that may be living in or on it. And with no live pathogens, you can't get food poisoning. So no matter how graphic your descriptions may be, that isn't much of a problem now, is it?

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          Since without the cut finger, bacteria couldn't get into the system, yes, people certainly DID die of cut fingers. That's like saying it's not the cancer that kills you, it's respiratory failure caused by the fact that the tumors have grown too large to let you draw in a breath.

                          Again - putrefaction and the products of bacteria, even if they're gone, make eating meat that hasn't been properly refrigerated a dangerous proposition. It's also a much bigger risk to assume that you are going to cook that meat well enough to kill the billions of bacteria - entire bacterial civilizations of mighty proportions - that have had a chance to grow and evolve while it was sitting on the counter.

                          Personally I'll pass on taking that risk. Some people DO eat roadkill. Eat it if you want to, but don't deny that the risk of food poisoning is greatly increased by so doing.

                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                            You've cut your finger before, right? Did you die?

                            Unless a minor cut gets infected, it heals up with no problem. And if all the bacteria that come into contact with that cut are dead, it won't get infected.

                            Heat kills bacteria. And there's plenty of data regarding pasteurization of food. Fact of the matter is, if you pot-roast a chunk of chuck until it's tender, there are no bacteria alive anywhere in the vicinity.

                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                              "that have had a chance to grow and evolve while it was sitting on the counter."

                              our daughter came home from high school one day and noticed I'd not wiped the water drips off the counter. for dinner that night one thing I made as a side dish was white rice. I didn't package it up right away and tupperware it but got to it later after relaxing on the couch with coffee and hubby. she came downstairs and said, "don't expect anyone to eat that rice tomorrow mom." I asked why, she then said they'd done an experiment in science class and left a few drops of water on the counter the the next day looked under a microscope to see what had been created by living on the water drops. dreadful she said, which was why she noticed me not wiping the water drips off but more importantly said if water does that, what does rice do sitting out for even an hour or two....
                              she scared me wittless................auh the memories of our children

                            2. re: alanbarnes

                              you should read about botulism. NOTHING denatures a TOXIN produced by the bacteria BEFORE THEY DIE. Yup, dead bacteria. Still kills you.

                              1. re: Chowrin

                                Botulism is nasty stuff, but it c. bot only grows in an anaerobic environment. It's a real problem with home-canned foods, but meat that sat out on the counter overnight? Not so much.

                            3. re: ZenSojourner

                              ''may not die, but given a choice between diarrhea, vomiting, and horrible cramping, ''not to mention a bladder infection that followed suit being dehydrated, now 'that' was so much fun..........NOT

                        2. I tend to take chances frequently but not this time. I have to agree with other posters; I say chuck the chicken and boot the beef.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            I'd throw them both out, and I'm one of the last people here to say that normally.

                          2. Certainly wouldnt risk the chicken. Beef would depend on your ambiant temperature - where I am (and with an unheated kitchen) I'd risk it.

                            1. Have you ever HAD food poisoning? 'Cause it's kind of a life-changing experience.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: rcallner

                                Foodborne illness: a topic in its own right. My story involves home-canned picallilli. I haven't eaten (AFAIK) home-canned anything since 1979.

                                1. re: rcallner

                                  life-changing? awful-horrible-terrible, yes. did not alter my life path or goals, however. any time i've endured it.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    Not trying to be antagonistic here, but have you ever had it while pregnant?????? It WILL alter some things.

                                2. How much did both the chicken and beef cost together? How much would a trip to the hospital for one or more family members cost? Discard whichever is cheapest.

                                  1. GOD no! I'm sorry, but better safe than sorry.

                                    1. Most people would say no. If you are feeding other people then NO. You can google about eating rotting meat (some people do it) and decide for yourself. Most likely you'd not be in for a fun couple days afterwards. Personally, I'd probably be the cat that curiosity killed (and I've had food poisoning (twice) and cholera).

                                      1. Just wrote a column on food safety. After following our local county food sanitarian/restaurant inspector around for a day and listening to her talk about all of the really bed things that can grow in food (cooked or not) at temps between 40 and 140 degrees F, I wouldn't touch this stuff.

                                        1. Toss those packages and don't think twice about it.

                                          1. I'd definitely eat the beef, and would probably eat the chicken. For most of human history, and in most of the world today, leaving meat at room temperature for a day or two is the rule rather than the exception. Just be sure to cook it thoroughly - this isn't the chuck roast to grind up and make into medium-rare burgers.

                                            Thorough cooking will kill any pathogens that might be present. There are a few bugs (eg, c. botulinium, staphylococcus aureus) that will be killed by heat but leave behind heat-stable toxins. But botulism requires an anaerobic environment, and the surface of a piece of meat isn't a particularly good growth medium for staph.

                                            Is it possible that you'll get sick? Sure. It's also possible that you'll be struck by lightning any time you walk out the front door. Decisions shouldn't be based on the elimination of risk, they should made by assessing the likelihood and severity of an adverse outcome and deciding whether it's worth it. In this case, the odds you'll get sick are vanishingly small. Unless somebody who'll be eating the dish is very young, very old, or immunocompromised, I wouldn't worry about it.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                              thank you for the competent post. sorry for kvetching above. incorrect info here can be deadly. ;-)

                                            2. A piece of beef, wrapped in plastic, left at 70 degrees or so for a day would be fine for a pot roast, stew, chili, etc. I'd do a sniff test, but I can't imagine it wouldn't be ok. I know I've left steak out for 8 hours or so and grilled it without incident.

                                              1. It isn't the bacteria themselves that you need to be concerned about. It's the toxins they leave behind, and the products of putrefaction.

                                                And meat that has been left out at room temp for a full day has begun to putrefy.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                  Putrefaction has a reliable indicator - a putrid smell (hence the name). If the meat doesn't smell bad, putrefaction isn't an issue.

                                                  As far as "the toxins they leave behind," the vast majority of food-borne pathogens don't. There are exceptions, but they're not a serious concern in this setting.

                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                    Sorry, but just because you can't smell it doesn't mean putrefaction isn't occurring.

                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                      Technically you're correct. Putrefaction happens any time animal proteins break down. If you think that's a problem, you definitely need to avoid dry-aged beef. Or, for that matter, anything that was slaughtered more than about an hour ago. But the fact of the matter is that if it doesn't stink, putrefaction isn't a health issue.

                                                2. You don't say if they were frozen, thawed, or room temp when they were left out for this long. If they were frozen, I'd say give 'em the sniff test, if they pass that, cook them in a braise/boil/well-done method, and have 3 shots of tequila with dinner. I have a good friend who is a doctor, whose father is a doctor, as well... when she was fighting an infection that wouldn't let go during school, her dad advised her to "disinfect from within" using a healthy party-down night of tequila. Admittedly, his advice probably had more to do with "de-stress and you'll be okay" than killing pathogens with alcohol, but at least if you have some toilet-hugging moments the next day, you can blame the tequila.

                                                  I'm a tightwad and an optimist... so if I were you, (and the meat has started from frozen), I'd go for it.

                                                  1. jwg the OP: it's a day later, what did you decide?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. Discussions about pathogens and poisons and all the other issues aside:

                                                      Unless you are flat broke (no money to even buy a can of tuna or a jar of peanut butter, which would be unlikely given the fact that beef AND chicken were out on the counter) and this is well and truly the last edible morsel in the house, why risk it?

                                                      Not only do you feel like hell, but even if you don't have to even go down to the drugstore to chase down some Pepto-Bismol, is it worth it? Even if all you're giving up is an afternoon watching football while you're crouched over the commode, not being sick is always worth pursuing.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        In order to intelligently answer the "why risk it?" question, it's necessary to quantify the risk being taken. And the risk of eating meat that sat out for a day before being fully cooked is very, very small.

                                                        There's a risk in consuming over-easy eggs, but that doesn't mean that doing so is unreasonable. You take a risk every time you go to a restaurant, but most folks eat out at least now and again. And those are just risks that relate to food-borne illnesses; let's not talk about the chances you take every time you get behind the wheel of a car.

                                                        Risk isn't bad, it's part of life. And IMO, it makes more sense to use informed judgment when managing risk than to arbitrarily avoid minor risks while ignoring much more significant ones.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                          Sorry.

                                                          Knock yourself out. Eat everything you want that's been sitting out on the cupboard.

                                                          I'm throwing it out.

                                                          I have just as much right to make the decision about me and my body as you do about you and yours.

                                                          Doesn't make me an idiot...doesn't make you an idiot.

                                                      2. chix no, not sure about beef

                                                        1. although I'm typing this 6 days after the original post, it's not pertinent any longer but agree about the smell test too. we all know how much yucky chicken can reek, even almost gone chicken gives off that awful odor plus it gets sticky right? beef can get that rancid smell to it. I've cooked hamburger meat that I questioned but cooked it up anyway thinking the smell would go away and cooking would make it ok, but chucked it each time. not worth sickening my family

                                                          1. Since this now appears to be more of a poll (and a pretty humorous thread to read), here's my 2 cents: No on the chicken, probably yes on the beef (knowing its starting state, approximate temp in the kitchen, exposure to sunlight, and other variables are important in making the decision).

                                                            In many parts of the industrialized world - such as the Alps region of France where my family lives - cooked food is typically left out for a day without refrigeration, before its reheated for leftovers. Cheese is always left at room temperature. Meat is left to thaw on the counter top. And as far as I know, no one in the family has gotten sick from food poisoning.

                                                            Some posters comments suggest its a foregone conclusion that eating the beef would automatically lead to food poisoning. But of course, that's nonsense. There's a "risk curve". Eating beef straight from the butcher carries a risk - albeit a small one. Eating beef left out for 5 days carries a risk - a big one. 22 hours and specific circumstances carries a risk - an unknown one. And clearly some folks aren't comfortable with that risk. Some are. Personally, I'd be turning that beef into a pot roast or something like that. Probably wouldn't feed it to a 3 year old or someone that's immune compromised. Then again, there's lots of stuff I make/eat that I wouldn't feed to a 3 year old or someone that's immune compromised, like steak tartare, sashimi, and some raw egg products. Life is a giant exercise in risk analysis.

                                                            The reality is, for beef, there's simply not a lot of stuff that going to grow on it that not going to be killed by high heat, and not a lot in terms of toxin production in a few hours. Poultry and fish are different stories. But a hunk o beef? Come on people. It's time to take your tin foil hats off.

                                                              1. "When in doubt, throw it out."

                                                                There are no exceptions.

                                                                P.S. I will edit to add that if you want to take those chances for yourself, that's one thing, but it would almost certainly be criminally liable to serve it to anyone else. My $0.02.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                  But I think the real point is, the "doubt" line varies from one individual to the next. I have no doubt to leave a roasted chicken carcass out for a few hours while I eat and relax, while some folks would put it in the fridge minutes after dinner has been plated. Some folks have no "doubt" when it comes to raw ground beef, whereas some won't even be at the same table with raw ground beef.

                                                                  But yes, to each their own. On the taking chances - I do think it's important to be clear that no matter what you cook and serve, you take a chance - it's a matter of where that risk falls on the line. Does buying ground beef at Sam's Club carry more risk than buying a chunk of chuck and grinding it yourself? Of course it does, but that's a risk many people are willing to take, even though they don't acknowledge it as a risk. But I think it's important to be clear that even taking a roast out of the fridge and popping it straight into the oven carries a chance of food-borne illness.

                                                                  Lastly, we've evolved a really good detection system for spoiled food. There's a reason our oral cavity is tied anatomically to our olfactory system. There's a reason that much of what we perceive as "taste" is actually smell. The sniff test - while not scientific or FDA approved - is a pretty darned accurate assessment tool. It's evolved for millions of years, and been used for millenia, with very good results.

                                                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                    My point was that if "you" want to eat a roast that has sat on the counter for a day, that's one thing.

                                                                    If you serve it to your customers or family, and they get sick from it, your "ass is grass".

                                                                    There is no excuse for having taken THAT risk.

                                                                    I'll stand by that.

                                                                  2. re: DoobieWah

                                                                    I've got a better one - "when in doubt, find out."

                                                                    Ignorance is not a good basis for making decisions. Facts are extremely effective at reducing or eliminating doubt that arises from lack of information.

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      I wouldn't eat any animal protein left out of refridgeration for more than 3 hours in a non-frozen state.

                                                                      I know what my body can handle and what it can't. It's a FACT for me.

                                                                      Feel like arguing me out my decision too alanbarnes?

                                                                  3. All sides have had an opportunity to share their opinions, and there has been some angry back-and-forth, so we're going to lock this now.