my son left out my meat sauce (made with ground beef) all night (7-8 hours!) Can we still eat this tonight??

meat sauce unrefrigerated

  • Posted by: Mommaj's
  • February 12, 2016


Zelda February 12, 2016
Also, the fact you used ground beef would only be risky if it was not thoroughly cooked, eg burgers that are still pink in the middle. Not an issue with meat sauce.
Zelda February 12, 2016
the meat's cooked, so should be fine if you reheat it properly by bringing back up to the boil, and simmering for long enough to heat through. I do this all the time with sauce that's left out up to 24 hours.
Greenstuff February 12, 2016
If you haven't read this article by Harold McGee, it's pretty interesting. For stock, a 10-minute boil will kill bacteria and denature toxins. But in the end, what's important to remember is that while risks of being affected at all may be small (lots of people routinely leave spaghetti at room temperature and are fine), the possible rare outcome can be really serious.
HalfPint February 12, 2016
My mom use do this. She grew up in a humid tropical climate with little refrigeration and she would boil soups and sauces for a good 10 minutes. She said this kept the food from going bad, but warned that it was only good a couple of times.
Zane February 12, 2016
It's way more cost effective to throw it out instead of spending it at the emergency room with food poisoning.
ChefJune February 12, 2016
I surely hope you won't put yourself or your family at risk.

Voted the Best Reply!

702551 February 12, 2016
It's really your call since you're going to field "go ahead and eat it" and "no way, toss it" answers in this forum as you would at any food-related forum (not just Food52).

In the summer, when my kitchen doesn't cool down that much, I'd probably toss it. During a typical winter night, my kitchen gets considerably cooler (although we've been having a warm spell for the past week).

If there's a strong acid component (like tomato), I'll probably go ahead and serve it. If there's dairy in the sauce, I'd hesitate.

Again, your call since no one is going to your house to test for microbial growth.

Good luck.
trampledbygeese February 13, 2016
I agree. If you were asking 100, or even 50 years ago, the answer would be it's fine, eat it. Nowadays, the same thing is considered fatal. I don't know if this change is because the ingredients are so different now that we have feedlot meat, or because we have an authority helping us decide what's safe to eat. It's going to be up to you to decide. Generally, if there is doubt, toss it out.

Then again, if it was in my kitchen, this time of year, where the kitchen spends the night below 10 degrees C, I would probably bring it to a good boil for 20 min then eat it. If I kept my house heated at night, then I wouldn't hesitate to toss it in the compost.
CanadaDan February 12, 2016
8 hours at room temp for ground meat? that's a serious risk. i wouldn't eat anything that was at room temp for longer than 2 hours and i'm pretty easy going as far as food safety goes. i'd toss it unless you want to feel the effects later that night...
gt9 February 12, 2016
I am not the FDA, but my feeling is that if it was fully cooked, and there is some salt in the sauce, I would eat it...
Nancy February 12, 2016
Unless "out" means out of doors where temperature was maximum 4C or 40F, sorry not unless you wish it to be your last, or your last for a long time.
see this link (and others you may find) for help on two hour safety guideline.
Mommaj's February 13, 2016
I want to thank everyone for their comments about this! I appreciate it. We tossed it.
Thank you
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