Food Safety Issues/Food safety


Cooked a chuck roast in oven with tightly fitted foil on top.  Put oven on timer to turn off at 9pm and then forgot about it. Found my mistake at 7am next morning . Immediately put it in fridge. Oven was never opened after cooking until I found it next morning. Is it safe ?

Hi Scott,

That's a good question that can only be determined by a lab test.  In other words...who knows?

When food that should be kept either cold (below 41 degrees F) or hot (above 135 degrees F) is left in the "Danger Zone" -- the temperatures between 41 and 135 -- for an extended period of time, the chances for any bacteria to grow goes up exponentially.  The problem is you can't see, taste or smell these bacteria, so you can't tell if it is still safe.  And therein lies the problem -- you can't tell.

Research done at USDA where they inoculated food with a known amount of bacteria and then placed it at various temperatures, showed that at 100 degrees a food could remain safe for 5.9 hours; at 105 degrees 5.2 and at 110 degrees 4.7 (see page 11 in the following report:  Chances are your roast was within these temperatures a good portion of the night.  Your roast was within the Danger Zone for 10 hours, so the chances for any bacteria that may have been present growing increased.

It is entirely possible (and most likely probable) that your roast is still safe.  But since you can't tell by sight, smell or taste, the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the roast.



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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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