Food Safety Issues/Cooked vegetables


I cooked some vegetables in oven and left them overnight. These were: beans,
Carrots, broccoli , tomatoes, and lettuce. Are they safe to eat. Smell fine.

Hi Jeff,

It is impossible to tell by taste, smell or appearance if food that is capable of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria are still safe to consume when left out all night.  Cooked vegetables are considered a potentially hazardous food which means that they need to be either refrigerated (41 degrees F or above) or kept hot (above 135 degrees F)in order to remain safe to consume.  

If you were a restaurant and following FDA food code guidelines, you would have up to 6 hours to chill cooked vegetables to 41 degrees F. If they can't get the food down to 41 degrees in that time frame then they must throw it out as the chances for microbial contamination increases the longer a food that can support the growth of harmful microorganisms is in the Danger Zone -- 41 to 135 degrees F.

Of course, microbial contamination does not happen every time food is temperature abused.  The problem is you can't tell by using your senses.  In other words a food that looks great, smells fantastic and tastes wonderful and still have you running for the bathroom.

Best course of action is to not take a chance and pitch the veggies.

Sorry...  but hope you still have a Happy Thanksgiving.


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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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