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View Full Version : Safe to eat - cold lasagna left out all day


DCnDC
02-19-2013, 12:24 PM
I made a lasagna Sunday. Had some for dinner, covered it up and put it in the refrigerator.

Monday morning I put a couple slices in a container and put that in a plastic bag to take for lunch, but I forgot it when I left and it sat on the kitchen counter for about 8 hours until my GF came home and stuck it back in the fridge. We keep the temp in the house pretty low; the thermostat is set at a shade under 50, let's call it 48.

Today I brought it to work with me and now I'm staring at in the office fridge, debating whether I should eat it or not.

Now, had it been warm and sat out all day, I'd certainly just toss it out, but when I left it out it was refrigerator temperature, which is set at 35 degrees.

What do you think?

ETA: if it makes a difference, there's no meat in it. I made it with vegetarian sausage.

emacknight
02-19-2013, 12:37 PM
According to the health department no, anything out more than an hour gets tossed. Doesn't matter if it has meat, there is still plenty of food for pathogens to grow.

I'd suggest you toss it.

GrandWino
02-19-2013, 01:12 PM
Food like pasta tends to grow bacteria at a very quick rate. Definitely toss it.

Athena
02-19-2013, 01:14 PM
It's probably fine, especially if you heat it up so it's really super hot for a minute or two before you eat it.

But... the key word is "probably." It did spend a lot of time in the low danger zone. Something could have grown, albeit slowly. As emacknight said, the health department would advise to throw it out. But these are the same people who think that all our eggs should be cooked until the yolk is hard and all meat should be well-done.

I guess it depends on how much of a risk-taker you are. Let us know how it goes!

Rhiannon8404
02-19-2013, 01:16 PM
I would eat it. We leave stuff out quite a bit and never get sick. I'm not saying you should it it, just that I would unless I saw mold or something.

kayaker
02-19-2013, 01:21 PM
I would eat it.

Sicks Ate
02-19-2013, 01:29 PM
I'd eat it. Which isn't to say that it's the right decision.

Timetrvlr
02-19-2013, 01:31 PM
"If in doubt, throw it out" is a good axiom. If you have ever had food poisoning, you'll know why.

muldoonthief
02-19-2013, 01:38 PM
I'd eat it. I have eaten it, or at least eaten food in very similar situations, and never gotten sick as a result. I personally believe FDA/health department warnings are for infants, the elderly and infirm, not for healthy adults.

Tamerlane
02-19-2013, 01:38 PM
I'd eat it. Which isn't to say that it's the right decision.

Yeah, there is really two schools of thought on this. I have a friend who is far less cautious than me and he'd say eat it - chances are it'll be fine. He thinks I'm ridiculously overcautious about refrigerating things promptly.

But as the above implies I'd toss it. Because if you crap out on those chances you're going to have one miserable time of it later on.

Sicks Ate
02-19-2013, 01:50 PM
But as the above implies I'd toss it. Because if you crap out on those chances you're going to have one miserable time of it later on.

Interesting choice of words, that.

papergirl
02-19-2013, 01:57 PM
I'd totally eat it, but it has been pointed out to me that I'll eat damn near anything.

JXJohns
02-19-2013, 01:59 PM
I'd nuke it for a while in the micro and then eat it. Especially if it was my Aunt's lasagna.

amarinth
02-19-2013, 01:59 PM
It'll be fine.
It's cooked and tomato sauce is acid.
I would nuke it in the microwave to be sure (also, because I do not like cold lasagne) but I wouldn't even think twice about that.

pulykamell
02-19-2013, 02:06 PM
I would never advise another person to eat it, but I would eat it without a second thought.

terentii
02-19-2013, 02:10 PM
My rule is: If it doesn't stink, it's safe to eat. Sitting in the hot Sun all day, yeah, it might be spoiled. But on your kitchen counter at ~50 degrees for a few hours? Wouldn't put me off, especially if it's lasagna!

Just nuke it for a few minutes, it'll be fine.

emacknight
02-19-2013, 02:10 PM
"So I was going to use a condom, then I said to myself, when is the next time I'm going to be in Haiti?"

Interesting to see so many people encouraging a stranger on the internet to potentially poison himself.

gwendee
02-19-2013, 02:15 PM
I would never advise another person to eat it, but I would eat it without a second thought.

Well said. We also keep our house cool (not 48, that's downright brisk!) and our habit is to leave leftover pizza in the box on the counter and eat it the next day. So far there has been no problem for either my son or myself but this IS the Dope and therefore YMMV.

I watched a reality show possibly called 1940s House or WWII House where a typical family lived in the manner a family in their neighborhood in London would have during WWII, and what the family chose to eat rather than discard in a climate of rationing was very different than it would have been with huge varieties of food abundantly available. I think about that sometimes when faced with an eat or don't eat decision.

If it's a recipe you make often and you have other options tossing it is probably the wiser course.

Athena
02-19-2013, 02:28 PM
"So I was going to use a condom, then I said to myself, when is the next time I'm going to be in Haiti?"

Interesting to see so many people encouraging a stranger on the internet to potentially poison himself.

That's the whole reason the Internet was invented as far as I'm concerned.

DCnDC
02-19-2013, 02:39 PM
FYI: I ate it.

It was about 90 minutes ago. I was hungry and lazy so I didn't feel like walking down to the cafeteria for something else. I'm generally pretty hardy when it comes to food. I nuked it good and it tasted fine. I feel normal.

Smeghead
02-19-2013, 02:41 PM
If you had left out a huge tray of lasagne that you were going to serve to large numbers of the public, potentially including the elderly and immunocompromised, I'd throw it out. That's the kind of scenario most health regulations are thinking of.

If I'd left out a plate with a single serving and wanted a snack for myself later, I'd eat it without a second thought.

And I have a degree in microbiology, for what that's worth.

Sicks Ate
02-19-2013, 02:41 PM
FYI: I ate it.

It was about 90 minutes ago. I was hungry and lazy so I didn't feel like walking down to the cafeteria for something else. I'm generally pretty hardy when it comes to food. I nuked it good and it tasted fine. I feel normal.

Muahahahahahah! Our scheme has come to fruition! Soon, very soon, you will curse our mothers' eyes between tortured cries, bemoaning the hell that your intestines have become!

emacknight
02-19-2013, 02:59 PM
If you had left out a huge tray of lasagne that you were going to serve to large numbers of the public, potentially including the elderly and immunocompromised, I'd throw it out. That's the kind of scenario most health regulations are thinking of.

If I'd left out a plate with a single serving and wanted a snack for myself later, I'd eat it without a second thought.

And I have a degree in microbiology, for what that's worth.

Keep in mind what information you were given, and what you don't know. What's to say the lasagna was cooked/prepared properly to start with? You don't know how quickly it was cooled the first time. He said it was refrigerated, but at what temperature? We don't know what the room temp was it was sitting at. And what's to say he'll heat it thoroughly before eating it? Those are all critical control points.

Also keep in mind that the health department has an entirely separate set of rules for microwaving food that might not have been covered in your microbiology program.

Then again, I've always had my doubts that the health department knows anything about microbiology.

I feel normal.

For now...

Muahahahahahah! Our scheme has come to fruition! Soon, very soon, you will curse our mothers' eyes between tortured cries, bemoaning the hell that your intestines have become!

There is a joke in all this about UHC and personal responsibility. And even if it doesn't make him vomit out both ends, if he doesn't wash his hands he has the potential to spread it to everyone around him. Yum.

Sicks Ate
02-19-2013, 03:01 PM
There is a joke in all this about UHC and personal responsibility. And even if it doesn't make him vomit out both ends, if he doesn't wash his hands he has the potential to spread it to everyone around him. Yum.

That's ok with me; I'm not around him.

DCnDC
02-19-2013, 03:06 PM
There is a joke in all this about UHC and personal responsibility. And even if it doesn't make him vomit out both ends, if he doesn't wash his hands he has the potential to spread it to everyone around him. Yum.

Jesus. Do you live in Purell coated bubble?

terentii
02-19-2013, 03:16 PM
Hey, a few hours ago I devoured some lunchmeat I'd inadvertently left lying on my kitchen table. It was cured, so I just steamed it with some Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and used it to make sandwiches. I'm not dead yet! :D

emacknight
02-19-2013, 03:25 PM
Jesus. Do you live in Purell coated bubble?

Ha, no. But I do have seven years of experience in the food service industry, mostly feeding the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

And while our facility and procedures are great, we struggle with teaching people to eat safely at home. The scenario you described happens pretty frequently.

So how's your tummy feeling?

DCnDC
02-19-2013, 03:32 PM
Ha, no. But I do have seven years of experience in the food service industry, mostly feeding the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

And while our facility and procedures are great, we struggle with teaching people to eat safely at home. The scenario you described happens pretty frequently.

So how's your tummy feeling?

Fair enough. :) I'm still young and hardy. Were I a more advanced age and in poor health, I'd probably have gotten something else to eat.

I'm still good, thanks.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
02-19-2013, 03:38 PM
Muahahahahahah! Our scheme has come to fruition! Soon, very soon, you will curse our mothers' eyes between tortured cries, bemoaning the hell that your intestines have become!

User name/post combo--perfect.

Zjestika
02-19-2013, 03:40 PM
Just today I sent lasagna leftovers to work with my husband. They came out of the fridge at 8 and he probably ate around 1. I know he just leaves his lunch bag in his man purse until he eats. It never occurred to me to worry about that. Great, another thing to worry about.

papergirl
02-19-2013, 07:09 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one who routinely eats leftover pizza that's been sitting out overnight. The only reason I don't eat it 2-days-later is that it's usually gone by then. :)

DCnDC
02-19-2013, 07:11 PM
6 hours later... I'm fine.

dropzone
02-19-2013, 07:25 PM
I might be concerned if it contained ricotta cheese because that's a pretty good medium for raising microbes, but I'd eat it.

Plasticized mozzarella, acidic tomato sauce, and pizza crust (AKA: bread) left out all night then tossed in a Baggie for an unrefrigerated lunch should be perfectly safe, even for Grandma, though I'd think twice if there was sausage on top. But not a third time, especially if it's pepperoni because that shit's rotted and salted into being a non-food item already.

And how is Grandma supposed to rebuild her immune system if she doesn't challenge it now and then? ;)

Leaper
02-19-2013, 08:05 PM
"So I was going to use a condom, then I said to myself, when is the next time I'm going to be in Haiti?"

Interesting to see so many people encouraging a stranger on the internet to potentially poison himself.

I've started threads like this in the past. The vast majority of the time, I was told to go ahead and eat it.

This board's users are quite schizophrenic when it comes to "eat or not" questions.

Stranger On A Train
02-19-2013, 08:22 PM
It's probably fine, especially if you heat it up so it's really super hot for a minute or two before you eat it.The "if you nuke it until it boils" rationale fails fact test. Heat may kill pathogenic bacteria and viruses but it will not kill the toxic byproducts (exotoxins) that is the actual cuase of many foodborne illnesses, and the unevenness of heating of many microwave ovens makes even the elimination of pathogens uncertain. Also, the mildly acidic environment of tomato sauce is no issue for most pathogens, and between the high sugar content of the sauce and the ricotta cheese it makes a very good bacterial culture environment.

Of course, if you have a relatively healthy immune system you can probably cope, but even in a healthy adult toxins and pathogenic bacteria can result in increased intestinal wall permiability and resulting digestion problems and inflammation. 50 F is marginal for bacterial growth, but depending on the initial population it could be warm enough for certain pathogenic organisms to thrive. There is increasing evidence that even low level foodborne illness may have detrimental and systemic long term effects, so frankly I wouldn't risk it.

Stranger

SeaDragonTattoo
02-19-2013, 09:29 PM
I would have eaten it. I work 10 hour shifts and often don't get to eat until well toward the end of my shift. My dinner sits in my bag at room temperature until I have time to eat it. Sometimes until I get back home.

~Olive~
02-20-2013, 04:43 AM
I would have eaten it. I often leave food out on the counter because I don't like to eat cold food.

terentii
02-20-2013, 05:27 AM
I've started threads like this in the past. The vast majority of the time, I was told to go ahead and eat it.

In juxtaposition with the "Haiti" post, this makes a pretty interesting comment! :p

Athena
02-20-2013, 08:19 AM
The "if you nuke it until it boils" rationale fails fact test. Heat may kill pathogenic bacteria and viruses but it will not kill the toxic byproducts (exotoxins) that is the actual cuase of many foodborne illnesses, and the unevenness of heating of many microwave ovens makes even the elimination of pathogens uncertain.

You did notice I said it was "probably" safe after that, not for sure.

Boiling it for a few minutes will kill a lot of critters - Salmonella, e. coli, and others are easily killed with heat. But yeah, the toxic byproducts are almost impossible to get rid of, which is why I said "probably."

There is no "for sure" when it comes to food safety - even stuff we generally regard as safe, like most vegetables, can be easily contaminated. But we humans have managed to eat without getting sick most of the time for a long time now, so overall we're doing OK with the whole food safety issue.

Mean Mr. Mustard
02-20-2013, 08:32 AM
6 hours later... I'm fine.

We haven't heard from DC in a while. :eek:

DC?

DC?

Skammer
02-20-2013, 08:49 AM
I wouldn't recommend eating it. But I'd totally eat it myself. In fact I brought lasagna in for lunch yesterday, and it sat on my desk until lunch time. So not as long as yours sat out, but about five hours at room temperature before I stuck it in the microwave (and only for a minute). I feel fine so far...

Lucretia
02-20-2013, 09:07 AM
I'd eat it. But then, I've eaten unidentified cheese given to me by a random Afghan merchant in an open air bazaar, and baleadas made on a hot plate in the middle of a Honduran operating room. My comfort level with these sorts of things is different than other people's.

JohnGalt
02-20-2013, 09:15 AM
Next time if you decide not to eat it, just feed it to your cat (it's orange with stripes, right?)

DCnDC
02-20-2013, 09:19 AM
We haven't heard from DC in a while. :eek:

DC?

DC?

Still here. Feel fine. Spoilered for TMI:I had a normal, solid, and quite satisfying BM this morning.

panache45
02-20-2013, 09:46 AM
I've eaten stuff left out that long, with a higher room temperature, and never had a problem.

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