Food Safety Issues/soup left out

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Question
I left vegetable soup out all night it was still hot at 11pm it's 9 am now is it safe to eat it has ground beef in it

Answer
Hi Derek,

The recommendation is to not take a chance and eat potentially hazardous foods (meat, dairy, poultry,cooked vegetables, etc) that has been out in the Danger Zone - 41 to 135 degrees F -- for over 4 hours.  Since your soup was out a total of 10 hours and harmful bacteria, if present on the soup, could multiply to dangerous levels within that time frame, and since you can't see, taste or smell these bacteria to know if they are present, the recommendation is to pitch the soup.

I know you are thinking...."but couldn't I just reheat it to a rolling boil? Wouldn't that kill any bacteria present?"  While boiling would kill any live bacteria, the problem is that some bacteria produce a toxic waste product that is not deactivated by heat. In other words, heating a food does not make it automatically safe to consume.

The problem is you just can't tell by looking at the soup if it is still safe.  You could have this same scenerio 100 times and every time you reheated the soup it was perfectly fine.  Then the 101st time...bam...you get ill. Is it worth taking a chance????

So pitch the soup.....

Sorry.

Carol

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

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 - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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