Drat! Made meat sauce then left it on a (cold) stove for 7 hours. I have to throw it away don't i?
Yep. I did something similar with beef stew a long time ago, and I promise you that the resultant food poisoning was not worth it. Toss it.
I would. this type of questions has come up a few times recently. You are bound to hear stories of stomach pain, discomfort and food poisoning.
The growth of bacteria in its ideal environment is exponential, and I would personally toss it. Although boiling it for a few minutes will kill any bacteria that has multiplied, it won't get rid of the toxins they have produced and that, unfortunately, is what will make you sick.
I'm afraid you have to toss your food. Food safety standards permit hot foods that are held at 135F to be removed and not kept warm for a maximum of 4 hours. After that, they must be tossed out. These standards can vary but I don't know of any that allow for 7 hours. I think 4 hours is a reasonable timeframe. Like Dr.babs said: Food poisoning was not worth it!
For future reference, once food is removed from heat, you have a total of 6 hours to get it to 40 degrees or below. Within the first 2 hours, you must cool it to at least 70 degrees. Within the next 4 hours it must cool to 40 degrees or below. I keep empty water bottles in the freezer for rapid cooling. Fill them 3/4 full, freeze them, and Bob is your, so to speak, uncle.