Food Safety Issues/Pesto Sauce in pantry

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Question
I bought some pesto sauce from Costco a month and a half ago.  Usually I buy it from the grocery store and it's jarred and on the shelf so I'm just used to putting pesto sauce in my pantry.  However i just realized this Kirkland's pesto sauce came from their refrigerated section and says "keep refrigerated" on it.  Unfortunately i didn't realize this until after i used 2 huge jars along with chicken and other ingredients to make several freezer meals.  I've been searching online and getting different opinons.  Some sites say commercial sauces have to be cooked before sold to kill any possible bacteria and since it was unopened it's probably ok.  Others make it sound like pesto sauce left out is deadly.  It is before the "use by date" and unopened but it's been in my pantry for over a month.  I didn't notice any weird color or smell... it seemed normal.  It's also winter so my pantry hasn't gotten terribly warm.  
Also the meals I used it in are going to be cooked in a crock pot for several hours.  I don't know if that would make it safer.  I really can't afford to waste about $50 worth of food if i don't need to, but definitely don't want to make anyone sick.  
Thanks

Answer
If the pesto sauce says keep refrigerated and it wasn't there is a risk of microbiological contamination by organisms know to cause food poisoning if the pesto is not kept refrigerated at 41F or below. Commonly referred to as pathogens some of these include bacteria that form toxins that cannot be removed from cooking. The risk is very low that this will occur but is your families health worth the risk? I wouldn't hesitate to throw it out along with any freezer meals you made using it as an ingredient. This is not a hard call for me to make.  

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Carl LaFrate

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I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.

Experience

30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

Organizations
New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Publications
Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Education/Credentials
Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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