Food Safety Issues/Safe to eat?


I fully cooked 3 johnsonville brats.  They were boiled in beer for more than an hour and then grilled.  They were left in a sealed ziploc bag on the counter overnight.  Are they safe to eat?

Hi Nora,

This is a good question which unfortunately we don't have a definitive answer.  

What we do know is that food that can easily support the growth of harmful bacteria (such as meats, dairy, fish, poultry, etc) when left out in the Danger Zone - 41 to 135 degrees F -- for more than 4 hours, the chances for bacterial growth increase substantially. Since you can't tell if bacteria that can cause you harm is present (there are not physically signs such as a change in taste, smell or texture) the general recommendation is to not consume foods that have been in the Danger Zone over 4 hours.

So what are your chances that the food is still safe to consume?  Probably pretty good.  Chances are you could leave 100 bags of brats on the kitchen counter overnight, 99 of them would probably be safe to consume.  The questions then you feel lucky?

Until we have a way of testing food at home that has been temperature abused to determine if it is still safe to consume, the recommendation will be to not consume foods that have been left at room temperature overnight.



Food Safety Issues

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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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