IAteItFilter: Ate something, wish I hadn't. Am I gonna die?
August 20, 2017 5:46 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I just ate some tuna salad which had been left in the back seat of a car for an hour at midday today. The temperature in the car was 104 degrees when we got back into the car. He neglected to inform me of this before we had dinner. Am I going to be violently ill, and if so, can I do anything to prevent it?
posted by snickerdoodle to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I think an hour should be fine. The recommendations I've seen for food safety is not to exceed two hours in the 'danger zone' temperatures (and those recommendations are generally fairly conservative). And we've certainly all eaten things that were left out at potlucks for an hour.

It likely feels more dangerous to you because it was unplanned/unintended and because a hot car just feels so gross compared to a table at a picnic. But I don't think there's much substantial difference.
posted by Lady Li at 5:56 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

If you're worried that it could make you sick, try taking activated charcoal, available over the counter at any pharmacy.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 6:21 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Honestly I think you're fine, unless you have a very sensitive digestive tract.

This is well within even the USDA's very conservative advice on time spent in 'danger zone', assuming it was fairly fresh before and put in fridge after. The only info you give us is roughly 'in hot car for an hour' but I hope if it was made a week ago, you'd have told us?

I suppose if you have some on hand you could take some activated charcoal supplement for prophylactic peace of mind.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:22 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

From the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

You may experience some food poisoning, you may not, IANAD. Doubt it'll be to the point where you will be at risk of death, however. Upon further research the type of food poisoning you're most at risk of experiencing now is Clostridium perfringens which is apparently common and usually subsides in a day or so. Again, IANAD or a bacteriologist.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:31 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think there is a higher risk of food poisoning if the sandwich and tuna inside it were not handled well before being in the car. Otherwise it's sort of like a tuna melt (no pun intended), heating it up. An hour doesn't seem like that much time to create a huge amount of bacteria. But if the sandwich-maker didn't wash his hands...all bets are off.
posted by Toddles at 10:54 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Be sure to update this post--
We need the real world data for the AskMetafilter "CanIEatThis?" scientific team!
posted by calgirl at 8:47 AM on August 21, 2017 [13 favorites]

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