Can I Eat This? Creamy Pork Stew Edition
October 25, 2015 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Last night I made this recipe for a creamy pork shoulder stew (which was delicious). Everything was thoroughly cooked as it was simmering for probably 1.5+ hours. I put the leftovers in a covered (but not sealed) container and forgot to put it in the fridge. I just found it this morning, so it was sitting out for about 12 hours. Can I eat this? I was thinking I could throw everything in a pot and boil it again, or perhaps microwave it.
posted by gumtree to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pork and heavy cream sitting out all night? Not just no but hell no.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:20 AM on October 25, 2015 [25 favorites]

Well, no one can really make that call but you. If you are a healthy adult, the risk is low but not zero. I come from a family where soups / chilis were left on the stove and reheated as needed or at least once a day, and had it been left in the pot I would eat it without a second thought, but strangely, the fact that it was transferred to a separate container would give me pause.
posted by Nothing at 8:34 AM on October 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Theee hours would be risky. Six hours would be extremely risky. Twelve hours is insane. Please please do not eat this.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:48 AM on October 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

posted by limeonaire at 9:00 AM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in the "the risk is low but still present" category. I don't see how pork and cream really change things... once the pork is cooked, the stuff that's specifically dangerous in pork is taken care of, and if the cream has gone bad it will taste awful and you won't eat it.

I would not recommend that anyone else eat it but honestly if it was me I probably would have deliberately not done the math on how long it was out and pretended it was definitely OK so that I could just go ahead and eat it.
posted by mskyle at 9:04 AM on October 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

I would eat it in a heartbeat, but if you're worried, don't.
posted by mnfn at 9:05 AM on October 25, 2015

I'd heat it up really really well and then eat it.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:11 AM on October 25, 2015

I would think the problem with reheating it enough to kill anything that might have started overnight is that that kind of temperature and time is going to play havoc with the dairy in the recipe. Honestly, between the potential risk of contamination and the strong likelihood of a kind of nasty grainy texture in a best-case scenario, discarding is my recommendation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:28 AM on October 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

what was the temperature? here, now, i would probably eat it. but in a place with central heating, likely not.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:32 AM on October 25, 2015

Best answer: It probably sat at the most bacteria growth inducing temperatures for hours. Even if you boil it the remaining toxins excreted by said bacteria will remain. I would NOT eat this no matter how delicious it was when you made it.
posted by leslies at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2015 [10 favorites]

No! You can't eat it.
posted by thelonius at 9:36 AM on October 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Reheating it will make no difference; you cannot undo decomposition or the sort of bacterial growth that causes illness in food that has sat outside the safety zone. If you're going to eat it, it will be the same risk whether you stick a spoon in it right now or heat it up.

I would eat it. I wouldn't feed it to guests, but I would eat it and take my chances. I have eaten things like it and not had a problem. Still wouldn't feed it to guests, as it has sat over 40 and under 140-160 degrees for more than two hours total (TOTAL, you cannot restart the clock, not even by making it really hot.).
posted by Lyn Never at 9:39 AM on October 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

No, no, no! Cream and pork left out? No. No. No. high chances of getting symptoms.
posted by djinn dandy at 9:58 AM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are pathogens and toxins from food poisoning that survive high temperatures. Food left out is a lovely growth environment for food poisoning. Food stored in a covered container while quite hot is sometimes okay. I had food poisoning a year ago and was extremely ill for 3 days, and not really well for about a month. I wouldn't risk it. If you are young and healthy, you could try a sample, see how you feel after 12 hours, then decide.
posted by theora55 at 10:07 AM on October 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Personally, I'd probably eat it but (a) wouldn't be surprised if I had a little extra toilet time the next day; b) wouldn't subject anyone else to this cost/benefit exercise; and (c) wouldn't store it in the fridge to eat at a later point in time. It seems to be to be a slightly higher, but not order-of-magnitude-higher, risk category compared to, say, eating pepperoni pizza stored on the counter overnight.
posted by drlith at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2015

Helllllllll no. Do not pass go. Throw it out NOW. It sat in the danger zone for half a day!
posted by Automocar at 11:01 AM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

My other thought on the matter is -- what is the cost, to you, of throwing it out? It's not a particularly complicated recipe, and it doesn't look like it would take much time to whip up a second batch. If the ingredient cost puts this in a "once a month" sort of category, I guess I could imagine dithering over keeping it (although I think I'd still kick myself and throw it out). If it's more a "once a week" sort of project, why risk possible illness? Count it as a lesson learned, and double-check your counters while cleaning up/before going to bed to make sure it doesn't happen again.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2015

Well, here's one possibility

"Clostridium perfringens causes about 970,000 illnesses every year.
Found in meats, poultry, gravy, and other foods kept at room temperature too long.
Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and watery diarrhea.
Symptoms begin about 8 - 16 hours after eating contaminated food and last for about 24 hours."

Why would you even want to take that chance??
posted by HuronBob at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ew. NO.
posted by sarcasticah at 12:43 PM on October 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

So I've lived in places where "refrigeration" for leftovers was leaving them near a window in winter and I routinely cook food and leave it in the oven/on the stove to cool overnight. The only food poisoning I've had from home cooked meals is stuff cooked from veggies grown in nightsoil compost and left on the fridge for too long. And it was clearly bad (frothing), but i didn't know better at the time. It's not impossible that you'd get sick from this, but it's pretty unlikely.
posted by congen at 12:54 PM on October 25, 2015

When in doubt, throw it out.
posted by valannc at 6:25 PM on October 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

God, no. Textbook no. You created a perfect, rich, warm environment for the growth of harmful organisms and gave them plenty of time to do it. Chuck it.
posted by Miko at 7:14 PM on October 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

NO. So much NO. NO NO NO.

And everyone here saying "just boil it," dear God, please stop. You do not know what you are talking about.

In order to actually kill off pathogens (we'll deal with their residue in a moment) you need to hit specific very high temperatures for specific amounts of time, which "boil for a few minutes" is absolutely not going to do at all.

And. Many pathogens, the problem isn't really the wee beastie--the problem is the toxic residues they leave behind. Which are not broken down by heat.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:12 PM on October 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'd make a judgment call based on how it was covered. Was air able to circulate past the lid? Bacterial from the environment would have to get in and set up shop after that, and that stuff would take time, leaving it little enough time for rapid exponential growth and subsequent toxicity. Most likely the only thing that got in there was harmless airborne yeast.

Everything about this is not just wrong, it is dangerously wrong. It's not like this product came into being out of nothingness and was then left on a counter. It was touched with implements of varying cleanliness, put in vessels of varying cleanliness, likely poked with dirty grubby fingers.

How something is covered has precisely not one thing at all to do with whether it could be bacterially contaminated. Zero. Nada.

once the pork is cooked, the stuff that's specifically dangerous in pork is taken care of, and if the cream has gone bad it will taste awful and you won't eat it.

Neither of which takes into account bacterial contamination (trichinosis is what you're talking about) that has occurred anytime between slaughter of the pig and fork entering mouth.

Also, many bacteria, I say this over and over again, do not create off odours or flavours and are therefore undetectable by the wildly varying instruments that are the human nose and tongue.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:40 PM on October 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

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