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Food Safety Issues/Packaged Meatballs Overnight


A sealed package of pre-cooked meatballs and a pint of half-and-half were left in a paper grocery bag in the kitchen overnight. They felt slightly below room temperature when discovered @ 1:30 pm.

Unfortunately, the recommendation for foods that can easily support the growth of harmful bacteria when left in the "Danger Zone -- 41 to 135 degrees F" for over 4 hours is to pitch them.  Both pre-cooked meatballs and half-and-half are considered potentially hazardous foods, or foods that require time and temperature control for safety and must be kept either hot (above 135 degrees F) or cold (below 41 degrees F) to be considered safe for consumption.

Since room temperature this time of year is around 75 - 80 degrees F, slightly below would mean probably 60-70 degrees which is a temperature that encourages the rapid growth of bacteria. And since you can't tell by look, smell or taste if the food is still safe to consume, the safe thing to do is pitch both of these products.



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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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