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Food Safety Issues/Xmas turkey refridgerated 2 weeks - safe soup?


Family here Christmas - after dinner leftover turkey refridgerated 5 days except for carving.  

1/1/13 I went into hospital for 10 days and syran covered turkey never removed.  Is it safe to use for soup?  Not sure all types of bacteria w/b killed even boiling 2 to 3 hours - and what about dead bacteria residue?  More of a problem if I've had the flue?

So delicious hate to waste and do love turkey soup!  Help and thanks!

Hi Virginia,

I hope you are now well after your 10 days in the hospital. The last thing you need now is a food borne illness and unfortunately, your turkey could be harboring harmful bacteria after spending over 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Leftover poultry needs to be consumed or frozen within 3-4 days after initial refrigeration to remain both safe and of a high quality.  While refrigerator temperatures slow down the growth of bacteria, leaving a potentially hazardous food like turkey in the refrigerator 2 weeks is way beyond the window of safety.

The problem, as you made reference, is that some harmful bacteria produce a toxin (waste product) as they grow which is not destroyed by cooking.  Any live bacteria that may be present will be killed by boiling, but the waste product can still be viable and could make you ill.  Unfortunately, you can't tell if the live bacteria or waste product is present since they don't give off any signals that they are present.

The recommendation for your 2-week old turkey 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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