Food Safety Issues/


I left out soup (white chicken chili) over night. It had cooked chicken (rotisserie) canellini beans and chicken broth (the dehydrated, powdered kind). I had cooked the soup and boied it for a couple of hours. It probably was at room temp for 8 hours Is it safe to eat?

thank you,


Hi Jan,

Unfortunately, the recommendation for a soup containing potentially hazardous foods (foods such as chicken, cooked beans) is if it sits at room temperature over 4 hours it should not be consumed.

The reason for this recommendation is that these foods are capable of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria and within 4 hours enough could have grown to a level that could make you ill. Some of these bacteria have the capability of producing a toxic waste product that is not destroyed by heating.  This is why it is recommended to not eat food that needs refrigeration or heat to remain safe to eat, be consumed if they have sat out more than 4 hours.  While reheating the soup would kill any live bacteria, the toxin would still remain and could make you ill.  

Since there is no way of telling if the soup is still safe to consume (you can't see, taste or smell harmful bacteria or their waste products) the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the soup.



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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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