Egg drop soup left out of the fridge for 12 hours. Should I eat it?
June 30, 2011 7:12 AM   Subscribe

My wife left a container of egg drop soup on the kitchen counter overnight. It's been sitting there for 12 hours now. I am very hungry. I love egg drop soup. Should I eat it?
posted by gertzedek to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh heavens no!! I don't think egg left out would be very safe to eat.

I can't say for sure, but yuck!
posted by Sweetmag at 7:14 AM on June 30, 2011


Meh. It's all cooked, and eggs are really only a major issue when they're raw. I'd nuke it a little longer than normal, but if it were me, I'd go for it.
posted by valkyryn at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you love egg drop and the bacteria that cultured in it.
posted by orthogonality at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2011


No. It's easy enough to make or buy more.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:17 AM on June 30, 2011


Surely nuking it for a long time would kill anything that might have grown in it! Eat it!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boil it for 5 minutes. If it works for contaminated water with feces in it, it should be just fine for food that is probably not contaminated. It will make the egg part a bit tough, but be fine for the rest.
posted by jb at 7:24 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. It's not safe to eat a cooked egg, or a dish that contains cooked eggs, if it has been unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
posted by Andrhia at 7:24 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Not lots of feces - that would be gross - but that's the recommendation after hurricanes, etc).
posted by jb at 7:24 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


microwaving might kill bacteria, but it doesn't kill the toxins they leave behind. I wouldn't eat it.
posted by changeling at 7:28 AM on June 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


No. Animal products left at room temperature for that long are not safe to eat, as a rule of thumb.
posted by Dasein at 7:28 AM on June 30, 2011


Questions often arise regarding Easter eggs. Easter eggs that are used in baskets or for egg hunts are safe to eat if they have not been kept outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Eggs that are kept at room temperature more than 2 hours lose moisture and quality as well as being susceptible to bacterial growth. Hard cooked eggs can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

I notice that this advice is from Arizona, where it is extremely hot.

Also, it seems a bit paranoid -- potato salads with egg are routine picnic food in Canada, where we leave them un-refridgerated for 2-5 hours.

As for this bit of advice - Eggs should always be kept cold to prevent bacterial growth. After buying them, refrigerate as soon as possible. Be sure to store the eggs in the carton in the main part of the refrigerator. It is not a good idea to store raw eggs in the door of the refrigerator.

In the UK, eggs are sold unrefridgerated and stored by many people in their cupboards. (Maybe they have less samonella there).
posted by jb at 7:28 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. Animal products left at room temperature for that long are not safe to eat, as a rule of thumb.
posted by Dasein at 10:28 AM on June 30 [+] [!]


Except for cheese, butter, all aged raw meats...and marzipan or royal icing made with raw egg whites, and lots of other foods.

I've eaten pheasant that was hung for 7 days at room temperature after its death. Bit gamey, but my SO likes it that way. The bacteria that the meat gets helps to break down the meat.
posted by jb at 7:31 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's just egg drop soup. Call your local Chinese joint and have them deliver more. Better safe than sorry.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:34 AM on June 30, 2011


I'm going to call this a NO. Even if you microwave or boil the soup, there may already be enough bacterial toxins generated to make you quite ill.

Order another soup.
posted by Citrus at 7:42 AM on June 30, 2011


In the UK, eggs are sold unrefridgerated and stored by many people in their cupboards.

In the UK and the rest of the EU, eggs go through a different process from farm to shelf and retain the protective cuticle that makes them less permeable. So it's not a like-for-like comparison.

On topic: even though I tend not to share the ingrained American skittishness towards food, I'd be meh about this one, because it's gone through a long period of moist tepidity, and that ain't good.
posted by holgate at 7:48 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even leaving aside the bacteria issue, the charm of egg drop soup is the delicacy of the strands of egg floating in the broth, and that's an effect that doesn't last 12 hours. Don't eat it.
posted by zadcat at 7:49 AM on June 30, 2011


When I was a kid in France I had a friend whose dad died from eating an omelet that was a few hours old and not refrigerated. Do not eat it!
posted by mareli at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2011


Surely nuking it for a long time would kill anything that might have grown in it! Eat it!
It's not the bacteria that kill you, it's the toxins they excrete, and microwaving will not destroy these toxins.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heat it back up! bring it to a boil. enjoy.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:02 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh. No. It's less an issue of the eggs than of the broth, which is an absolutely perfect (salty, proteiny) medium for rapid bacterial growth and toxin production. Just, ick. No.
posted by amelioration at 8:07 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


no, no no no. Meat broth + egg protein is the richest substrate I can think of for growing bacteria. Leaving a container of it out overnight is what I would do if I were *trying* to grow nasties. Don't eat that!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:10 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't even hesitate to nuke it and eat it. Yes, eat it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:16 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Some of you people do not understand food safety at all, and it's quite dangerous. BACTERIA alone is not the danger, they excrete toxins that cannot be removed from the food.

You don't just cook spoiled meat or other foods and bamf, it's edible again.

Just go get some new soup.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:21 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


No. Animal products left at room temperature for that long are not safe to eat, as a rule of thumb.

Funny, my grandma has been leaving all kinds of stuff out on the counter overnight all her life (hams, pecan pies with egg in them, cooked beans, etc) and nobody in our family has ever gotten sick from it.

I routinely leave food out on accident and as long as it wasn't baking in a hot car or something, I usually just heat it up and it's fine. I also take all kinds of things on lunches and picnics which usually don't get eaten until 4-8 hours after they last saw refrigeration.

Heat it up to a simmer and you'll be fine.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 8:23 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The point is not what your grandma did. People gave their kids unpasteurized milk and the child mortality rate was horrific. Some lived though so it must've been okay!

Explanation of why it is often the toxins bacteria excrete, not the bacteria, that make you sick.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:26 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


There seems to be a 50/50 divide between the people who say "fuck yeah eat it" and the people who "fuck no you crazy don't eat it". I would normally agree with the former group, but the people on the latter group provided evidence. I shall not be eating it. Thank you, Metafilter!
posted by gertzedek at 8:35 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, it seems a bit paranoid -- potato salads with egg are routine picnic food in Canada, where we leave them un-refridgerated for 2-5 hours.


This canadian doesn't. You bring a cooler or freezer bag for your picnic! Approaching 2 hours, sure... but 2 to 5? No way.
posted by utsutsu at 8:59 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Egg drop soup is quite similar in composition to a number of bacterial culture media. I take a pretty lax approach to deciding whether or not to eat things, but I wouldn't touch that soup with a ten foot spoon.
posted by TedW at 9:35 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meh, I woulda eaten it. 'Course I have a tough stomach/immune system.
posted by Falwless at 10:16 AM on June 30, 2011


Good call. Not eating it allows you to continue to love egg drop soup whereas as if you'd eaten it and gotten really sick it may have put you physically off the soup forever.
posted by 6550 at 10:22 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


potato salads with egg are routine picnic food in Canada, where we leave them un-refridgerated for 2-5 hours.

I'd eat potato salad with egg that had been out for three or four hours too.

I sure as hell wouldn't eat potato salad with egg (or egg drop soup) that had been sitting out for twelve hours.

Bacteria can grow exponentially. And I'm not using "exponentially" in the colloquial wishy-washy nearly-meaningless sense of "very fast" which seems to have become distressingly common in the past five years or so. I'm using "exponentially" in its mathematical sense.

Food that has been left out for twelve hours does not merely have three times as many bacteria as food that has been left out for four. Food that has been left out for twelve hours potentially has hundreds of times as many bacteria than food that has been left out for four hours. (And hundreds of times as much bacterial toxin even after you boil it.) Especially when you're talking about a liquid medium such as soup which bacteria can move freely throughout, and get all the water they want, which makes analogies to dry solid foods such as ham or dried pheasant or cheese completely inapposite.

'Course I have a tough stomach/immune system.

So do I. I often come down on the "I'd eat it" side of should-I-eat-this questions. So much so that I stopped chiming in on most of them, because I realized that just because I would eat something doesn't mean someone with a lesser constitution should.

Not on this one, though.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:10 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, my family has pretty much done this all my life. Egg drop soup, beef + turnip soup, vegetable soup, chicken soup. Family leaves it out overnight with pot over it, then we eat it in the morning.

I've never gotten sick from it myself, but it may be because some sort of natural resistance has been built up. I think it's not uncommon for some Chinese families to do this. Not sure about other cultures or peoples though.
posted by FJT at 6:57 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Probably too late but Google "Egg Drop Soup". It's one of the easiest things to make in the world and requires eggs, chicken broth, and whatever other random stuff you have. My daughter is a horrible eater with random stomach issues but this is one thing she'll eat when she's feeling bad so I make it all the time.
posted by Octoparrot at 10:02 PM on June 30, 2011


I would, and have, eat it cold, right out of the container, with cold spring rolls and slightly soggy prawn crackers for dunking. It was boiled. It's been cooled in a covered container. You'll be fine.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:37 PM on June 30, 2011


In Costa Rica, people have laxer standards when it comes to food. We don't refrigerate eggs, and meat and other such products are left out much longer than they are in the States. I've not noticed people getting sicker at higher rates, even when we eat products with cooked eggs that have been out of the fridge for 3-5 hours.

That egg fact sheet linked to above says to avoid "foods made with raw, uncooked eggs like Caesar salad, homemade mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, homemade eggnog, homemade ice cream, and raw cookie dough" and never eat undercooked eggs. As someone who likes all those foods, and has at least two fried eggs with runny yolks each week, I think this list is overly paranoid about the dangers uncooked eggs pose, especially to healthy adults.

That being said, 12 hours is past my mark for egg drop soup, especially since you don't know the source of those eggs. All of the eggs I purchase and use in my cooking are from local farmers. I'd go six at the max when it came to egg drop soup (although I've friends who've gone longer in the tropics who've never been sick).
posted by avagoyle at 9:18 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eat it.

It's not the bacteria that kill you, it's the toxins they excrete, and microwaving will not destroy these toxins.

KokuRyu, heat does in fact destroy many such toxins.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:59 PM on July 2, 2011


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