Accidentally left burgers on the counter - safe to eat?

I was running around this afternoon and brought in some high-end burgers (med. rare) that I had bought to go. I was already late for another commitment, so I left the burgers on the counter but forgot to put them in the fridge–a fact that I didn’t discover until I got back home six hours later!

Needless to say, I put them in the fridge as soon as I realized this, but now I’m wondering–did them sitting out render them inedible? They were out from around 3-9pm, out of direct sunlight but still in late Northern CA summer weather.

These weren’t McD’s that were probably sitting around under a heating lamp for who-knows-how-long. These were ground steak made fresh to order. I really don’t want to throw them out, but would prefer not to double myself over in food poisoning spasms either.

So…what do you think?

I would eat it.

Are you an infant or an elderly person?

Do you plan on eating the meat raw?

Is your house un-air conditioned, and to temperatures on your counter reach 80-90 degrees?

If not, I’d say you are fine.

If it passes the sniff test, enjoy.

But sooner rather than later. You did lose a couple of days storage time so it will go to an inedible state in only a few days.

I’d also recommend using it now rather than trying to freeze it even if you have to pan fry it for hamburger helper.

I don’t have any science to back this up with, but I would say that exposing them to radiation (ergo microwave), might render them safer. I know thats probably not very true but it makes me feel better for eating stuff I find in the kitchen.

When in doubt, nuke it out.

Unfortunately some forms of food poisoning are caused by toxins that the bacteria make while sitting on the food (before you ingest them) and the toxins aren’t destroyed by cooking. If the bacteria had a chance to grow, you can still get sick even if you do thoroughly cook the food later and kill the bacteria.

I have a functioning immune system. I am an adult. Not elderly. I’d eat it.
Edit: Rads +2, HP +20.

Just make sure you take some radaway after the 100th burger.

I read the OP as having bought medium-rare burgers … not hamburger meat that will then be cooked into burgers. That changes things, as it implies the food will be consumed as-is, and not cooked into something else.

Hey, OP: you ever gotten food poisoning before?

I ask for two unrelated reasons:

  1. some people have more robust immune systems than others and are simply not prone to bugs that might overwhelm another person,
  2. once you’ve had bad food poisoning a couple of times, you tend to be more wary overall.

I’m an adult with a good immune system and I would throw it away without hesitation. The odds are probably heavily in my favor that I could eat it without consequence but there isn’t a burger in the world worth a case of food poisoning.

When in doubt, throw it out.

But I bet you probably ate it by now… :wink:

I am with the previous two posters. I never take a chance with meat. Or anything.

Make it four in a row!

I would personally eat them (ASAP, assuming a pass on the sniff test - yes, I know the sniff test is far from infallible), but then I have eaten food that I have dropped in the street with no ill-effects.

You were early by 1 hour, but otherwise correct.

No ill effects, I’ll have another for lunch and the last one tonight. Oh, and since I’d never heard of the place until I saw it on the Food Channel, here’s a shameless plug for some top-quality burgers in the Bay Area.

Thanks to all. :slight_smile: