baked lasagna in a glass covered dish was left out overnight, will it still be ok to eat

the house is kept at 64 degrees

  • Posted by: Tina
  • February 13, 2015


ChefJune February 18, 2015
I always go by the old adage, "when in doubt, throw it out." The very fact you have asked this question means you doubt whether it's still good. I'd toss it. Sorriest.
amysarah February 17, 2015
Food safety MVP sounds good. It begs the question - maybe there should be a general disclaimer about replies as well. Besides food safety, many questions here concern health/other dietary issues - e.g., allergies, medical food restrictions, or my pet peeve, the incorrect assertion that ALL alcohol 'cooks off'. A disclaimer may not be very valuable in a legal sense, but it might help reinforce that most here aren't experts in those areas, they just play one on the internet. (Not referring to this thread. But it happens.)

Voted the Best Reply!

ChezHenry February 16, 2015
I love Food52, but this is the one area this site really falls down, and that is Food Safety. Here an improper and incorrect posting has been voted the best answer. People searching for these types of items may find this and act accordingly, and then find themselves or their loved ones ill due to improper food handling.
Perhaps the only way to get around this is to eliminate these types of questions? Otherwise I think it's up to the Food52 editors to edit/answer/fix these types of posts. I've been vociferous in the past-and have gotten attacked for stating the scientific facts about food safety, bacteria, and the harm this can cause.
"I've never gotten sick", "my grandmother always did it", "stop being the food police", or "food safety experts will tell you it's probably not safe" are then followed by frankly irresponsible advice. I guess it's not politically correct, or in the vein of courtesy to debate these important points here.
For the sake of the community these types of posts should be banned, or answered only by established authorities-these are not "cooking" questions, these are "health" questions.
Stepping off of my soapbox.
ChezHenry February 17, 2015
Thanks to the Food52 Team for moving this to "Best Answer" status.
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 17, 2015
Was it the Food52 team or the Food52 community? Email the editors about your concerns for food safety and ask for the take.
ChezHenry February 17, 2015
No, I'm sure it was the Food52 team. They removed the "Agrees" for the first post. My experience is once a post has been termed "Best Answer" it doesn't change.
Lindsay-Jean H. February 17, 2015
sexyLAMPCHOPx is correct, it was the Food52 community. The "Voted the Best Answer!" status is determined by the number of people who have agreed with it, so it is possible for it to change.

To your larger point though, we're working on adding a food safety expert to our panel of Hotline MVPs!
ChezHenry February 17, 2015
I stand corrected! And I'm very happy that for these food safety questions someone with the proper bona fides will chime in/edit/answer as necessary. I love the back and forth on this site-when it comes to techniques/add-ins/ideas on recipes and cooking. I do believe that food safety and scientific facts are much more objective than a normal "here's what I think" reply to hotline questions.
snafu January 6, 2018
I created an account solely to address this one smug, sanctimonious and patently misinformed post. how ironic is it that this post gets voted as the correct answer and ChezHenry is clamoring for other replies to be banned, if anything should be banned it should be bad posts like this that are not rooted in science or logic!

Here's the straight dope and actual science behind it. Literally everything has bacteria in it, everything you touch, everything you eat, you're surrounded by them constantly and you can't avoid them. In fact many of them are beneficial to us and live in our bodies in a symbiotic relationship. They're also regional, what might make you sick while visiting a foreign country will have no effect on the locals becuase their bodies have adapted to them. Given enough exposure to those same bacteria your body would do the same thing and you'd develop the same immunity.

The reason we get sick from food borne bacteria is because a certain bacterial load is exceeded, you consume more of them than your body can combat and it gets overwhelmed and you get sick. There are several ways to reduce and prevent bacterial load and yes refrigeration is a great way to slow the growth of bacteria so by all means you should refrigerate your food and not intentionally leave it out. But that said, if you forget and leave it out, not only is there no guarantee that it grows bacteria but it's by no means a permanent condition that can't be remedied. As many people have accurately noted, our grandparents often didn't refrigerate because they didn't have the means to do so! And miraculously, they didn't all get ill all the time either! Even so, if you leave it out, assume it's developed bacteria but don't throw it out! Bacteria is sesnsitive to heat, all that is required is to heat it to 150 degrees internal temp for a couple minutes and it will kill everything. So get yourself an instant read thermometer, fire up your oven, pop the lasagna in and heat it up, when it hits 150, take multiple measurements to make sure it's heated evenly, then to be safe let it cook for 5 mins then you'll be fine.

The policies the FDA has laid out are the most conservative possible and they prescribe much higher temperatures than are actually required. They're reasoning is to err on the side of caution because people are stupid and you need to protect them from themselves. But science simply doesn't support there scare tactics.
ChezHenry February 13, 2015
Of course you should discard it, without question. The pasta, meat, milk based béchamel, cheese. Can you imagine a more fertile ground for bacteria growth? Pegeen is correct.
GJS February 13, 2015
Be safe. Throw it out. It's only lasagna.
Pegeen February 13, 2015
I agree.
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 13, 2015
If it was my food, I'd say yes.
Pegeen February 13, 2015
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 13, 2015
because I'm hungry and my kitchen is always cold.
AbsolutDoc July 27, 2021
Haha!! I was thinking the same thing. I keep my house freezing in the summer and hot in the winter. But, I know that's actually silly in regards to food safety zones. It's just funny that I had the same exact thought.
Pegeen February 13, 2015
The "danger zone" is 40 to 140 degrees, so I'd throw out the lasagna. Since we don't "see" bacteria it's easy to pretend it's not there. Re-heating something doesn't kill bacteria, unless you're boiling it. Buying more lasagna ingredients is a lot cheaper than a lost day or two of work from food poisoning. Here are some guidelines from the USDA for consumers:
Pegeen February 13, 2015
Correction about reheating from the document mentioned above: "Foods should be reheated thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming. In the microwave oven, cover food and rotate so it heats evenly."

I think the issue with that is for most dishes, reheating to 165 F would dry it out so much, you wouldn't want to eat it again.
ktr February 13, 2015
Food safety experts will probably tell you it's not safe, but I know I've done this on several occasions without any problems. In fact I was just talking to someone the other day about how a lot of elderly people we know leave food out over night before putting it in the fridge and have never had any problems with it. Of course, if you or anyone in your household have any immune deficiencies though, I'd err on the side of caution and toss it.
ChezHenry February 13, 2015
Actually, a lot of old people got sick in the past, they called it a bug, or a "24 hour" stomache virus, or the runs, or etc., etc. Some got much worse. We now understand these things much better, and have scientific proof of the rampant bacteria growth in these conditions.
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