Help! I Accidentally Left Food Out All Night! Is It Still Good?

Help! I Accidentally Left Food Out All Night! Is It Still Good?

Emma Christensen
Feb 20, 2013

Q: I made a delicious slow-cooked pork shoulder yesterday and forgot to put it in the fridge before I went to bed. I realized I had left it out this morning at 6:30. While it was hot still when I went to bed, it was out at about 68°F room temp all night. Is there any way to save it or is it a lost cause?

Sent by Heather

Editor: Oh, I feel your pain! Technically speaking and if this were a restaurant situation, your pork was in the "danger zone" (between 40°F to 140°) for longer than recommended and should be tossed. This said, you could also re-heat the dish to above 140°F to kill any nasties and be ok eating it. Normally, reheating like this would also kill the food's flavor and texture, but since this was a slow-cooked dish to begin with, I don't think it would be affected as badly by reheating.

Readers, what do you recommend?

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(Image: Nealey Dozier)

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