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Food Safety Issues/Half Jar Pasta Sauce left Out


My son left half a jar of commercial pasta sauce out for 48+ hours. I read your information about bacterial toxins not being killed by boiling and that it is best to dispose of the item. What about cleaning the pot I began boiling it in before consulting this site? The utensils? Splashes on the counter and stove? The sink I poured it down? Is a bleach and water solution followed by hot water and dish soap sufficient?
Incidently, I had already mixed the sauce with grass fed beef when I discovered mold on the pasta jar rim and questioned my son. I didn't have the heart to waste it, so I poured the sauce through a colander, rinsed the beef and gave it to the kitty as a treat because cat's have shorter, different systems than humans. She didn't reject it and did not get sick.

Hi Sher,

As long as you cleaned the pot, counter and stove you shouldn't have anything to worry about.  The proper way to clean a surface would be to wash with a detergent to remove any visible food particles, then followed by a bleach/water solution (1 Tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water) that would be allowed to air dry.  This would be sufficient to kill any living bacteria and to remove any toxins.

Since your cat did not become sick, its fairly evident that no toxins or live bacteria were present and that the mold on the jar also caused no problems. But as you know, since you can't see, taste or smell bacteria or their toxins you have to assume that when food the can support the growth of harmful bacteria is temperature abused you shouldn't take a chance.

Glad that both you, your son and cat are all well in this new year.

Take care,


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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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