Food Safety Issues/16 day old baked beans.


Hello, I cooked some baked beans last night and put the leftovers in my fridge.  Today I decided to have some cold baked beans.  Well, apparently I didn't throw the beans I made 2 weeks ago out, because they were in the fridge.  I ate them thinking they were the fresh beans.  they were in a glass bowl covered in foil.  I didn't eat a lot of them but they had no odd taste.

Is there a chance for botulism in this case?

Hi Dustin,, there isn't a chance and here's why. Botulism only occurs in anaerobic conditions (no air) and is usually associated with improperly canned low acid foods.  So rest assured that you will not get botulism.

Most bacteria that grow in aerobic environments grow very, very slowly under refrigeration. So slowly that food spoilage organisms such as yeast and molds will be what you eventually find.  These organisms give visible signs that they are present -- fuzzy growth, off flavors, etc. However, Listeria is one bacteria that can grow while in refrigeration and that is why we recommend that ready-to-eat foods like deli slices, hot dogs, salads, cooked meats, etc be used within 7 days of initial cooking or opening of the package.  By limiting the time in the refrigerator to 7 days you decrease the chances of Listeria growing to a level that could make you ill.

For maximum safety, I do recommend pitching the 16 day old beans at this time. For your newly prepared baked beans, I'd mark them with the date prepared and then consume them within the next 7 days.


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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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