Food Safety Issues/Frozen Pork Roast Left Out


Hi ~ I pulled a frozen solid pork roast out of the freezer around midnight and placed it in the sink to thaw overnight.  However, I forgot to cook it the next morning (yesterday) and didn't discover it until later that afternoon.  I immediately put it in the refrigerator when I found it.  Is it still safe to cook in crock pot today or should I throw it out.  


Hi Cathy,

It is no longer recommended to thaw meats at room temperature because of the increase chances of bacterial growth.  

On whole muscle meat like your pork roast, if there were to be any bacteria present it would probably be on the surface, which is the part that would defrost and warm up to room temperature first.  Bacteria love to grow in the temperature between 41 and 135 degrees and especially like 70 to 115 degrees.  Most room temperatures are between 65 and 75 degrees which is right at the prime temperature for fast bacterial growth.

Now I know you are saying "but wouldn't cooking the roast kill the bacteria?"  The answer is "Yes" for any live bacteria, but the problem is that some bacteria produce a toxic waste that is not deactivated by cooking.  So cooking a meat that has been temperature abused does not automatically make it safe to consume. In addition, you can't tell if live bacteria or their toxic waste or present by sight, smell or taste.

So unfortunately, the recommendation for your pork roast that was in the prime temperature for rapid bacteria growth for 15+ hours is to pitch it.



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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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