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Food Safety Issues/Cabbage and kielbasa soup left out



My husband made a huge yummy pot of cabbage, tomatoes, peppers and kielbasa soup. It was way to hotdog fridges I we put huge covered pot in sink and filled with. Old water no ice to cool it down for fridge. We k ew it would take a while. That was at about 9pm soup and pot was scalding hot. At 3am I remembered it:( it was a little cooler than room temperature.  I put it in the fridge but he made it for a family gathering tomorrow. I read the whole cool to 70 degrees within 2 hours and to 41 in the next 4. Will it be ok to eat?

Hi Kristen,

There is no way to tell by sight, smell or taste if your soup which was out at room temperature for 6 hours is still safe to consume.  What we do know that there is a possibility for contamination when food capable of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria is left at room temperature for over 4 hours. The six hour rule for cooling is based on getting the hot food down to 70 degrees quickly (within 2 hours) as 70 to 120 is considered the ideal temperature for harmful bacteria to quickly multiply.

Since your soup was out 6 hours and was within this most dangerous part of the cooling cycle, the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the soup.

Sorry....but Happy Thanksgiving.


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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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