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Food Safety Issues/Smoked sausage green beans and potatoes


I cooked a big pot of smoked sausage green beans and potatoes and it was accidentally left out over night. Is it safe to eat? Our AC is kept on 69.

Hi Terrie,

The problem is you can't tell if food that can easily support the growth of harmful bacteria is still safe to consume after being temperature abused. (ie -- left in the Danger Zone (41 to 135 degrees F for an extended period of time)

What we do know is that foods like meat, vegetables, fish, dairy, and poultry have the capability of supporting the growth of harmful bacteria when given the right temperature (between 41 and 135). And we know that some of these bacteria can produce a toxic waste product as they grow and that this waste product is not destroyed by heat.  Thus, reheating a food that has been at room temperature overnight is not automatically made safe by simplying reheating.

Until we are able to tell if a food that has sat out overnight is still safe (and one day we will be able to do this) the advice 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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