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Food Safety Issues/tortellini soup left on counter overnight


My homemade tortellini soup - containing cream cheese - was accidentially left on the counter overnight?  I have since refrigerated it.  Is it still ok to eat it?

Hi Sheila,

Unfortunately, there is no way to telling by sight, smell or taste if your soup is still safe to consume.

What we do know is that potentially hazardous foods -- foods that require time and temperature control in order to remain safe to consume -- that are left at room temperature over 4 hours have an increased chance that any harmful bacteria present can grow to levels that could make you ill. While reheating the soup would kill any live bacteria that may be present, some harmful bacteria have the capability of producing a waste product that is toxic and is not destroyed by heat. In other words, reheating a food that has been temperature abused is not a guarantee that it is safe to consume.

Until we have a way of determining if a food that has been temperature abused is safe to consume, the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the food.



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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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