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Food Safety Issues/Forgot to refrigerate left over canned sweet potatoes


I put the left over organic sweet potato in a plastic container with a lid but I forgot to put it in the fridge over night.  Is it still good to use?  It's for my dogs..

Hi Rose,

Unforatunately there is no way of telling without laboratory analysis if your sweet potatoes are still safe to consume.  

Foods that can easily support the growth of harmful bacteria (cooked carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are in this group)that are left at room temperature for over 4 hours have the capability of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria. You can't tell by taste, smell or appearance if food has harmful bacteria so the recommendation is to not take a chance and pitch the food.

The sad thing is that you could leave food at room temperature 100 times and never have a problem, thus letting you think you'll never, ever have a problem.  Then the 101st time...bam! poisoning.  Until we have a way of telling at home that a food that has been temperature abused is still safe to consume, the recommendation will be to not take a chance and pitch it.  But it won't be long before we have such stick around!


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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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