Food Safety Issues/Food safety


Oil/vinegar based potato salad safe to eat if left out overnight?

Hi Maryanne,

Cooked potatoes are considered to be a TCS food -- a food that requires time and/or temperature control in order to remain safe to consume.  If you go strictly by time, the potatoes could be left at room temperature up to 4 hours and still be considered safe to consume.  If you go by temperature, the potato salad should be kept cold - below 41 degrees F - and consumed within 7 days of initial preparation to remain safe to consume.

Since your salad was out of refrigeration over 4 hours it is not considered safe to consume. You can't tell by taste, smell or appearance if a food that has been time/temperature abused is still safe to consume so the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch it.



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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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