Food Safety Issues/Safety of food


I roasted sweet potatoes and acorn squash covered individually with foil in the oven. I turned the oven off and forgot about them overnight. Safe or toss?

Hi Kimberly,

The recommendation is to not consume TCS foods (foods that require heat/refrigeration or time to keep them safe) that have been in the temperature danger zone (41 to 135 degrees F) for over 4 hours.  Unfortunately, cooked vegetables are in this category.

The problem is you can't tell by taste, smell or appearance if a TCS food that has been temperature/time abused is still safe.  The food can look good, smell fantastic and taste wonderful and still make you ill.  Thus the recommendation to not consume TCS foods that have been temperature/time abused.



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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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