Food Safety Issues/Is it still safe to eat?


Hi there, my husband made fried potatoes with bacon cooked in the bacon grease yesterday, we forgot to put it in the it still safe to eat today? Its been about 20 hours since it was first cooked.

Hi Melissa,

There is no way of telling by looking, tasting or smelling if your husband's fried potatoes are still safe to consume.  The problem is that harmful bacteria that love potentially hazardous foods (potatoes and bacon are considered PHF foods) and when these foods are left in the "Danger Zone" -- 41 to 135 degrees F -- for over 6 hours, harmful bacteria, if present, can grow to a level that can make you ill.  That's why it is considered unsafe to consume PHF foods that have been temperature abused.

Now I can just hear you (or your husband saying) "but can't we just heat it up and that will make it safe to consume?"  I wish that were true, but unfortunately some harmful bacteria produce a waste produce that is not deactivated by heat and can make you ill.  So heating a food that has been temperature abused is not a guarantee of safety.



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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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