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Food Safety Issues/2 Month Old Unrefrigerated Pasta Sauce


Hi Carol!

I recently, accidentally, used a jar of  opened pasta sauce that had been left in a cabinet for over two months! It was a Three Cheese pasta sauce of the Giant grocery store brand. I'm wondering if I will get sick?! This was yesterday around eleven. I have a small stomachache, right now, but I'm not sure if it's because of my imagination or not! Please get back to me as soon as you can!

Thank you,
Ashley H.

Hi Ashley,

It's impossible to know if you'll get ill. Chances are higher when you consume foods that should be refrigerated after opening but it doesn't happen every time.

I'm suprised that you didn't mention mold on the sauce since an opened, unrefrigerated jar, is a perfect environment for mold growth.

Any food that has a pH above 4.6 that is not kept cold or hot has the potential of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria when left in the "Danger Zone" --  41 to 135 degrees F.  While tomatoes (the main ingredient in the pasta sauce) has a pH below 4.6, cheese is above 4.6 and the resulting sauce may have a pH above 4.6.  

You will need to monitor your body and if you notice any symptoms such as fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, then you should contact your physician.

Here's hoping that your discomfort after realizing that you consumed 2 month old opened pasta sauce will be the only consequence you experience.


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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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