Is this turkey safe to eat?
July 3, 2014 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Last night I went grocery shopping and bought prepackaged turkey lunch meat. I ran some other errands for an hour with the AC on in my car, and then got home where I forgot to bring that particular bag inside for another hour. So this turkey sat in my car for roughly two hours, one with the AC on and one not, at about 85 degrees outside.

As soon as I realized this I immediately put it in the fridge, and when I took it out of my car it was still somewhat cool to the touch, not refrigerator temp but not exactly warm either. Is this still safe to eat? Everything I've found in my googling so far seems to indicate 2 hours of being left out is the cutoff point for meat, but I'm not really sure what that means in my situation.
posted by Malleable to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
I think it's fine, especially if it was still cool to the touch and unopened.

When you open the package, see if it smells, looks, or feels weird. If so, obviously don't eat it.
posted by Sara C. at 7:37 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

How much did the package of turkey cost? How much would you be willing to pay to avoid an agonizing bout of food poisoning?

Toss it. It's not worth it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's fine. Lunchmeat is pre-cooked and salted. Plus, the package is sealed.

If you are concerned, throw it away, but I would eat it without question.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Would you eat a turkey lunchmeat sandwich that had been sitting in a bag lunch for a couple hours, one of which was unrefrigerated? I would and have.
posted by Frowner at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

I would eat that.
posted by Fig at 7:46 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I probably wouldn't eat it, but only because I've lost that gamble once and don't plan to lose it again. The odds are probably technically in your favor.
posted by like_a_friend at 7:52 AM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would not eat that. Sure, it's a sealed package, sure, it's salted. But turkey is cheap, and post-infectious IBS is unpleasant.
posted by pie ninja at 7:54 AM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't eat it. And spoilage often isn't apparent visibly, or by smell or taste.
posted by magdalemon at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2014

It's fine.

Think about it like this...If you were to make little snacky things with the turkey for a party, it will easily sit out on a serving tray for two hours, and no one thinks twice about eating it.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would eat it because it was cool to the touch. If it had warmed I wouldn't.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:14 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're going to eat it, eat it as soon as possible. Sure, I'd eat a turkey sandwich that had been in a lunch bag for a few hours, but I wouldn't put that turkey sandwich back in the fridge and eat it three days later.
posted by mskyle at 8:20 AM on July 3, 2014

The FDA says you should always refrigerate perishables within two hours, or one hour if it's over 90F. I wouldn't then make sandwiches out of this and leave them sit out for several hours before eating it, but I think you're fine.
posted by MeghanC at 8:29 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you have a cat (a dog is not discriminating enough for this assignment)? If so, offer your cat a taste. If your cat eats it, then it's safe for you. Upturned nose? Nope.
posted by carmicha at 8:37 AM on July 3, 2014

If so, offer your cat a taste. If your cat eats it, then it's safe for you. Upturned nose? Nope.

That's not a great test. My cat regularly turns its nose up to fresh, perfectly edible things like this. He's a seriously finicky eater.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:00 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Its fine. I often take sandwiches (with both cheese and lunch meat) to work for lunch where it sits unrefrigerated until lunch hour when I eat it.

Om nom nom.
posted by axismundi at 9:13 AM on July 3, 2014

I would eat it, and I tend to be fairly cautious about food safety.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:25 AM on July 3, 2014

I would eat that. If you lived locally I would come to your house and eat it on delicious Wonder Bread with Miracle Whip and scrumptious bread-and-butter pickle chips...

posted by DWRoelands at 11:30 AM on July 3, 2014

You just described every lunch meat sandwich every kid ever brought to school in hot and sunny Southern California before the days of insulated lunch boxes. Minus the A/C. Place the slices between a good Jewish bakery rye with mustard and eat it.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:15 AM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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