Food Safety Issues/Left out Cacciatore


Hi! I made my Chicken Cacciatore (tomato sauce &lots of red wine with precooked chicken, peppers & onions)ahead of time as the taste is better the next day! Put it on rack to cool & went to watch a movie. Found it this morning Still on the counter, about 7 hours later.
Can I reheat it & eat it tonight after chilling in refrigerator all day???
Thank you!!!

Hi Shannon,

The recommendation for foods that require either heat or cold to keep them safe, is if they are in the "Danger Zone" -- 41 to 135 degrees F -- for over 4 hours then they should not be reheated and consumed.

The problem is you can't tell be taste, sight or smell if a food that has been temperature abused is still safe to consume.  Food borne illness bacteria can replicate quite rapidly at room temperature and some of them can produce a waste product that is not deactivated by heat.  In other can reheat a food and it can still make you ill.

Now does this happen every time?  No.  But the problem is you can't tell when it does happen.  You could reheat temperature abused food 100 times and never have an issue and then the 101st time...bam!  This is why you may have reheated food that was accidentally left out before with no repercussions and think that you can always do it. you feel lucky?

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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