Food Safety Issues/Ham


Hi I left a 12 lb spiral ham by mistake for about 18 hrs is it still ok to eat it. When I realized it was left out I put it in the refrigerator in case it was still goo.

Thank you

Hi Dani,

The problem is you can't tell by sight, smell or taste if a food that should be either kept hot or cold for safety is still safe to consume when it has been temperature abused.  The microorganisms that cause food borne illness do not give off any signals they are present.  If they did, it would be so much easier to tell which foods could still be consumed when left at room temperature.

So the answer can't tell if it is still good.  All we do know is that leaving a food that is capable of supporting the growth of harmful microorganisms out for 18 hours increases the chances that it is not safe to consume. The recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the ham.

Sorry....wish I had better news for you but do hope you had a Merry Christmas.


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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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