Food Safety Issues/Raw Pork


I purchased vacuumed packed pork side ribs with breast attached; I  kept them in the fridge at work, but I forgot to put them in the fridge at home. They have been left out for about ten hours, unopened. Will they be safe to eat?

Dear Debbie,

Unfortunately, there is no way to telling if your pork ribs are still safe.  What we do know is that when you leave potentially hazardous foods (foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, cooked vegetables, etc) within the "Danger Zone" (41 to 135 degrees F) for an extended period of time if any bacteria were present it would be given the perfect conditions for growth.  You can't see, taste or smell these bacteria so it is impossible to know if they are there.  While cooking the ribs will kill any live bacteria, some bacteria produce a waste product that is toxic and is not destroyed by heat.  Thus heating a product that has been temperature abused does not automatically make it safe to consume.

I know you are thinking "but the ribs are vacuum packed. Doesn't that make them safer?" Reducing the amount of air around meat does decrease the chances for aerobic bacteria (those that like air) to grow.  Since most bacteria that harm man require air in order to live, vacuum sealing does decrease the presence of air. But there are some harmful bacteria that only multiply in the absence of air. So there is the chance that anaerobic bacteria grew during the 10 hours it was out of refrigeration.

Thus the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the ribs.



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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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