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Food Safety Issues/Kielbasa and pasta left out overnight


I cooked kielbasa and bow tie pasta with spaghetti sauce last night. It was finished at about 6pm and I left and forgot to put it in the refrigerator to eat today. I came home at 6am and realized this and immediately put it in the fridge. I cooked the kielbasa in a frying pan before adding it to the pasta last night. Is it safe to eat since theeat was already cooked? Would it help to reheat it for a long time in the microwave and just add move sauce????  Thanks.

Hi Desiree,

I wish that just reheating a food that has been temperature abused would make it automatically safe to consume -- but it doesn't.

Foods that can easily support the growth of bacteria (meat, poultry, cooked grains like pasta, eggs, dairy, etc) need to be kept either cold (below 41 degrees) or hot (above 135 degrees) in order to remain safe to consume.  When these foods sit out at room temperature for over 4 hours, the chances for bacterial contamination goes up exponentially -- and you can't tell it by taste, smell or sight.  And some bacteria have the capability of producing a waste product while growing that is not destroyed by heating.  Reheating a food that has sat out for 12 hours does not make it 100% safe to consume.

Does food become unsafe everytime it is left out in the "Danger Zone" -- 41 to 135 degrees F?  No...but since you can't tell which foods are still safe because the bacteria that cause food poisoning do not give off any signals they are present -- the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the food.



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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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