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Turkey Left Out Overnight or Longer - Would YOU Eat It?

We spent Thanksgiving at my in-law's, with the usual spread prepared in the usual ways, and ate at about 3pm. Later that night, I noticed the turkey was still sitting on the stove, covered in foil. I asked my partner if we should put it in the fridge, since there was still a good bit of meat left on the bird, and she said no, they never do (all the sides were put in the fridge, just... not the bird). I was more than a little horrified by this, but simply resolved not to eat any of it myself. The next day, they all had more of the turkey (now having sat out at room temperature for ten hours or so), and no one seemed to suffer any ill effects from it. As of the time we left this morning (probably 9am today, Saturday), the bird was STILL sitting on the stove top, and my MIL was going to make it into turkey soup when she came home from work this afternoon. The idea of still wanting to eat meat that had been sitting out, unrefrigerated for 48 hours or so makes my stomach turn, and part of me can't believe that my partner thinks nothing of this, when she doesn't want to eat butter that's sat out long enough to soften.

So, is it just me who thinks this sounds disgusting?

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  1. I can totally relate to what you are saying. My in laws would do the exact same thing. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole but I tend to err on the side of caution and probably toss a lot of things that others would eat. To me, the very idea of food poisoning or other gastric distress is just too off putting for me to take the chance.

    1. No way! My cousins leave all the food out for hours, and I just don't get it! I never go back & eat more after a couple of hours. Why take chances on getting GI problems!

      1. It may be a tad reckless, but hardly disgusting. It wasn't raw meat, which come loaded with bacteria and high water activity, but cooked, meaning it's clean (and eventually, super dry). If the kitchen is well-kept and everyone washed their hands, the odds of harm are low. Even at ideal conditions for bacteria, it would take them a few hours to grow and produce enough toxins for it to harm a person.

        The thing that bothers me is not the potential for poisoning, but that they would eat something so darn stale.

        1. You know, we've left cooked meat out overnight, but usually not any fowl, and have never had an issue. and i have had food poisoning/salmonella before - not from my home, ever - and would not wish that on anyone. but I've just never had a problem arise from leaving out a cooked roast pork or some steak.... i think we usually do put bird away, but i think i can see eating turkey (but not chicken, don't ask me why - no logic going on here!) if it's been out for like 8 hours, sure. I think even i would be grossed out/scared at 48 hours.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mariacarmen

            I am less bacteria phobic than anyone I know but I would not eat it after that length of time.

            1. re: magiesmom

              Agreed. I am phobic with raw meat, but usually ok with cooked. Unrefrigerated for 48 hours? If in doubt, throw it out.

          2. I don't know anyone who would eat this.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              count the jfoods out...no surprise

              1. re: jfood

                We're all toooooo predictable, aren't we?