Should we eat this chicken?
April 19, 2016 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Left chicken breasts in a crockpot for an hour without turning it on by accident - is it safe to eat after cooking?

I put some boneless, skinless chicken breasts (that were being stored in their original packaging in the refrigerator) into the crockpot along with some chicken stock to cover it (which was also refrigerated/cold) and turned it to high, with the intention of shredding it after cooking to use in enchiladas tonight. I set a timer for 1 hr to check on it, as the last time I tried this I left them in too long. It wasn't until the timer went off and the chicken looked pretty much the same that I realized... I never plugged the crockpot in. I turned it on then (so probably 1:15 since they came out of the fridge), but I'm wondering how likely this is to make us sick. It was 4lbs of chicken breast so I hate to toss it, but I'm willing to if the risk is too high. I will of course make sure the temp reaches 165 before removing them, but I don't know if cooking it will help any germs that could have formed while it was sitting on the counter. I've googled but I haven't found any reputable sites indicating the length of time for non-frozen food at room temperature, though lots of forum posts saying less than 2-4 hours is fine. I guess I trust Mefi more than any other forum - thanks for your help!
posted by jouir to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
 
I haven't found any reputable sites indicating the length of time for non-frozen food at room temperature

Here you go. You're fine.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:06 PM on April 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


I routinely take my meat (chicken included) out of the fridge 1/2 hour so before I'm going to cook it, so I can salt it and let it relax a bit, and also because it cooks better if it's not so cold.

I don't know what the FDA would tell you, but I would eat this without a second thought.
posted by bondcliff at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


I would eat this without questioning it. We lived an hour away from the nearest grocery store when I was a child, so for 17 years, I ate basically nothing that hadn't spent at least an hour at room temperature during the drive home. It didn't kill me even once.

Feckless fecal fear mongering will be along momentarily with some actual science, though, probably.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Safe. With all the horrific "can I eat this?" scenarios I've read on the green, this is an easy one. It takes me an hour to walk through the grocery store with chicken in my cart and drive it home.
posted by cecic at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Oh, actually, there he already was!
posted by jacquilynne at 12:08 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't worry about this. USDA says two hours for cooked food, seems to imply about the same for raw food.
posted by PearlRose at 12:09 PM on April 19, 2016


I would eat this.

Those who would tell you not to eat this would cite the fact that the interior of the chicken was probably below 140F (generally agreed top to the "danger zone") for more than two hours because slow cookers cook, well, slowly.

My reasoning though is that the chicken probably stayed below the danger zone for at least a good portion of the 75 minutes before the crockpot got turned on, so the danger zone window would have to shift accordingly.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:09 PM on April 19, 2016


For comparison, danger zone according to USA, Canada.

Those who would tell you not to eat this would cite the fact that the interior of the chicken was probably below 140F

Generally speaking the interior is irrelevant. Most food spoilage occurs on surfaces.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:11 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


This conversation is relevant and well informed. Between 2-4 hours seems to be the consensus.
posted by General Malaise at 12:14 PM on April 19, 2016


I'm an actual food coward and I would totally eat this. Hell I've done this and et it after and I'm still alive.
posted by Sternmeyer at 12:18 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah. Another food coward here, ESPECIALLY with chicken, and that window of 1-2 hours has never done me wrong. Enjoy it!!
posted by witchen at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes, you should eat it.
posted by maryr at 12:52 PM on April 19, 2016


Oh hey, this just happened to me a couple of months ago! We had the chicken under mostly room temperature stuff (salsa, beans, maybe some frozen corn) and it was sitting in there for a couple hours before we remembered that the crockpot was not plugged in. We ate it, we survived, we do not have suppressed immune systems. I think you'll be okay.
posted by jabes at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2016


I once posted an incredibly neurotic AskMe about having accidentally eaten a day-old bean, and even I would eat this. Seriously though, under two hours at room temp is as conservative as you need to be.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thanks all! We ate it and it was delicious.
posted by jouir at 7:32 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


« Older Help me navigate the world of ethical/sustainable...   |   How do I become a digital nomad? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.