Food Safety Issues/Johnsonville Brats


Hi Carol we bought uncooked Johnsonville brats from Costco at about 2 and they were in the car until about 9:30.  Are these okay to eat?  We are having a large get together and want to make sure.  Thank You

Hi Dylan,

The recommendation for foods that require time and temperature control for safety (TCS) -- foods that require either keeping them cold (below 41 degrees F) or hot (above 135 degrees F) -- that are in the Danger Zone - 41 to 135 degrees F -- for less than 4 hours to be considered safe to consume.  Since your brats were in the car for 7 1/2 hours, and I'm sure the temperature was probably in the 80-100 degree range during that time -- the recommendation is to not cook and consume the brats.

Here's why....

Ground meats such as the mixture used to make brats, are more suseptible to food borne illness than whole muscle meats such as steaks and chops due to the grinding and mixing of meat, sometimes from as many of 60 to 100 animals.  This is why ground meats and sausages have a higher final cooking temperature than whole muscle meats. Foodborne illness microorganisms do not give off any indication they are present (you can't see, taste or smell them) so using your senses to tell if they are still safe is not a guarantee that they are still safe to consume.  In addition, some foodborne illlness bacteria have the capability of producing a toxic waste product during their growth which is not destroyed by heating.  So, cooking or reheating a food that has been temperature abused is not a guarantee that they will now be safe to consume.

For safety, I would not cook and consume the brats for your friends to consume.  Best to buy fresh, refrigerated brats -- keep them cold on the way home -- and then prepare them making sure they reach an internal temperature of at least 155 degrees F before taking them off the grill.


Food Safety Issues

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2016 All rights reserved.