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Should I eat food left out overnight?

Last night I made a HUGE meal so that I could save money and eat leftovers for lunch instad of eating out, and ironically, I accidentally left it out of the fridge overnight. My roommate says not to eat it, but my mom says it should be fine-I don't know who to believe and I have so little experience on the matter.

The food was basically chicken, applesauce, mushrooms, and a wild rice blend--All organic/natural ingredients. I live in Southern California--west Orange County, so it hasn't been extremely hot or cold--probably around 60 degrees or less in the night. The window was open, so there was a breeze, and there was no lid on the container. That's about all the details I can think of ...

So would you eat it?


( 62 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 5th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
oh, I'm sure its fine! I've eaten a lot worse, believe me!
Jun. 5th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
amen. :P
I usually don't answer "can i eat this" type questions, but meh.

If in doubt, chilli sauce. :P
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
Chicken can get salmonella at room temp.

I eat food left out overnight, but I'm vegan, so there's never really any chance of food-poisoningesque nasties.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
even cooked chicken? I thought it is killed when its cooked?
(no subject) - syaldia - Jun. 5th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nofunk - Jun. 5th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bronnyelsp - Jun. 5th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitkatkaboodle - Jun. 6th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bronnyelsp - Jun. 7th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitkatkaboodle - Jun. 7th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unkle_social - Jun. 6th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bronnyelsp - Jun. 7th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peachthief - Jun. 7th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bronnyelsp - Jun. 7th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peachthief - Jun. 7th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
I would not eat it.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
A few years ago, I would say go for it.

Then I watched my sister go through Salmonella poisoning. And my new favorite food rule is "When in doubt, throw it out."
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
I'd probably eat it...depending on whether or not it still smelled right and/or had developed any suspicious textures.

Best go with what your instinct tells you.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
just thoroughly heat it up before you eat it. id go for it...it was only 1 night/8 hrs.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
i'm a vegan so i can't say on the chicken, though you should be fine if you heat it up. as for the rice and stuff, you should be okay to eat it.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
Toss the chicken, keep the rest.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
^ Ditto.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sure it's fine...people have an irrational fear of old food, but if there's no mold on it or anything then it's fine.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'd eat it
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Provided it didn't smell or taste funky, I'd eat it. I trust my senses.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
In food service, if food is left unrefrigerated for 2 hours, it is required to be thrown away. After serving a lot of time as a professional cook and talking at length about food safety with Health Department inspectors, I've been dutifully scared into taking NO chances, especially when it comes to meat. Food poisoning sucks really bad, and you can't always tell if it is bad just by looking or sniffing. :/

This page has some good and easy to understand guidelines for food prep and holding. It's for commercial kitchens, but there's good info for anyone who cooks.
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
This page was really, REALLY interesting--and good to know! I'm still torn after reading all these comments, and since I've come to find that my mom has been feeding me leftovers that were left out all night my whole life, I'm torn. Oh bother ... If I don't eat it, then my dinner last night was ridiculously expensive!
(no subject) - xiane - Jun. 5th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - romijordanna - Jun. 5th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - twentymilehike - Jun. 6th, 2007 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - romijordanna - Jun. 6th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
PS - romijordanna - Jun. 6th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: PS - twentymilehike - Jun. 6th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: PS - romijordanna - Jun. 7th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Eh, I've left out food overnight on accident (with meat in it) and just heated it up and ate it. I would say find unless you live in a super hot area and the food was kept warm.
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Hi Local Neighborlike Person.
The proper answer is throw it out, but I would cook it and eat it, and I've done so.
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying *you* should eat it, but I personally would if it smelled ok. I've eaten leftout cooked chicken plenty of times and didn't get sick (in temperatures between 65-75 degrees, and covered up).
Jun. 5th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
ps. I would heat it up in the microwave, that makes a difference.
Jun. 5th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
I'm paranoid, so I wouldn't eat left-out meat, dairy, or eggs. If it were something vegan, I would just heat it up that day and eat it.

Then again, my friend just told me the story of the green, slimy, two weeks past when they should have tossed it fish that he ate for the staff meal while working at a Japanese hotel...
Jun. 5th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I always think of potluck dinner type parties when considering whether to eat food.

I have gone to plenty of parties and gatherings where I and others cooked food at home, transported it to the gathering place, let it sit on a table for anywhere for 2 to 8 hours, then trasported it back home and eaten it with no problems or concerns.

So I've never quite understood how people can be fine with potlucks and picnics, but in their own kitchens freak out at an hour or two of food left out.

So I'd eat it, for sure, overnight isn't that much longer than a number of parties I've been too!

Jun. 5th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
haha, so true!!! time food left out on the table at our parties(overnight) and people still eat it all the morning as they wake up with hangovers.

not saying you should eat it, but i probably would.
(no subject) - rainbow - Jun. 5th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 5th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I would not eat it.
Jun. 5th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
I would eat it if it's only been out over night, and if it had a cover on it. Without a cover, I would pick out any chicken or rice bits that hardened overnight, but that's it. It's such a shame to waste good food. If it didn't get hot, or warmer than room temp overnight then I'd save it, but if not I would give it to my dogs in a few meals (since their digestive tracts aren't sensitive to e.coli and such, like ours are)
Jun. 5th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
if it smells fine and tastes fine and you have a hardy immune system, it's probably fine to eat, especially since you mention in comments you've been eating leftovers that were out all night all your life. if you want to be extra safe, have some probiotics or garlic with it. if it tastes at all funky, toss it. if you eat some and dont feel well, toss the rest.

i eat stuff that's been out all night sometimes and have never gotten a even a stomach ache from it. i don't eat anything that smells or tastes funny. i DO cover everything though, to prevent anythng from landing on the food. i'd do that next time if i were you.
Jun. 5th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
I would check it out first and if it smells and looks normal, I'd eat it!

However if you have doubts about it... just throw it out and eat an apple.
Jun. 5th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
What kind of seasoning did you use? If you used any amount of salt, then most likely everything is OK, since it sat out during the cooler nighttime hours... The choice is yours, of course, but I would eat it.

Salt and vinegar both have preservative properties, so if you used any salt and/or vinegar in the preparation of said food, you were most likely OK.
Jun. 5th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
No salt, or any seasonings at all--only olive oil, applesauce, chicken, mushrooms, and wild rice. But I am definately going to keep that salt and vinegar thing in mind ...
(no subject) - unkle_social - Jun. 6th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
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