Soup Left Out Overnight: Is It Still Safe to Eat?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Lucidology, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Soup Left Out Overnight: Is It Still Safe to Eat?

    FOOD SAFETY

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    If you've ever intentionally or accidentally left a soup or stock in the pot overnight, you've probably wondered if it is still safe to eat after reheating. Harold McGee had the same question, especially when he heard about the food writer Michael Ruhlman's practice of using stock from a pot left out all week. He talked to a food safety expert to find out if reboiled stock is still safe to eat when you leave it out for one night — or even several days.

    The logic behind leaving stock out for extended periods of time is that because the liquid was boiled, any bacteria in it has been killed. While this is true for some bacteria like E. coli and salmonella, other dangerous bacteria species — such as the one that causes botulism — can form inactive spores that survive the boiling process. Once the stock cools below 130°F, these spores can germinate and multiply quickly.

    Bringing the stock back up to a boil for one minute will kill any active bacteria, and holding it at a boil for 10 minutes will inactivate the botulism toxin. According the expert McGee consulted, soup or stock left to cool overnight, then reboiled for 10 minutes and properly refrigerated in the morning is still safe to eat because it isn't cool long enough for the bacteria to germinate and reproduce up to dangerous levels. But a stock left out for two days "'almost certainly has high levels of infectious Clostridium perfringens cells, or Clostridium botulinum or Bacillus cereus cells and their toxins, or some combination thereof.'"

    And though even a stock left out for days at a time might not technically be toxic after a thorough boiling, its flavor will certainly be compromised:

    A reboiled three-day-old stock may be safe to eat, but it is now seasoned with millions to billions of dead bacteria and their inactivated toxins. It's conceivable that they might add an interesting flavor, but more likely that the bacteria have feasted on the stock's sugars and savory amino acids, the air has oxidized and staled the fat, and the stock has become less tasty.
     
  2. El Caballo

    El Caballo Retired bar hopping musician Supporting Member

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    IDK...That sounds like how the Roman's cycled their Gladiator stock...:dunno
     
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  3. StanG

    StanG Member

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    Ask 2HB, he has already done the research.
     
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  4. rolsen

    rolsen Member

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    I work for the health dept - not safe. Absolutely right about spore-formers. Stews, soups etc should be cooled in shallow containers because the center stays in 'danger zone' temps for hours otherwise. Same goes for dense foods like rice, potatoes. If you leave it out, follow the '4 hour use or toss' rule.

    Btw, no such thing as stomach flu. If you're crappin' loose and vomiting, you've got a food borne illness. Most FBIs are from your own kitchen and hygiene practices.
     
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  5. iamdavea

    iamdavea Silver Supporting Member

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    I can't eat anything if I have this kind of a doubt about it. Hard to enjoy food when you think it might make you ill. When in doubt, TOSS!
     
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  6. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    I was gonna say to let 2HB eat a cup of it and if he's still alive 24 hrs later, go ahead and finish it.
     
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  7. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    When I was in middle school it was pretty common for me to eat pizza that had been sitting in the box overnight.

    Kids....
     
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  8. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Hell ... that's common practice with all ages ... can't think of many folk who 'don't' do that ...!!
     
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  9. rolsen

    rolsen Member

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    Yeah, me too but the composition of pizza makes it much less susceptible to bacterial growth. We leave our loaves of bread out, too which is fine given its 'safe' composition. Do this with chicken or green bean casserole and you're in trouble!
     
  10. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Or anything with mayonnaise in it! I'm astonished at what I see at pot luck gatherings sometime. Potato salad in direct sunlight with no ice in sight, etc...
     
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  11. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    If I cook chili or anything with a stew or soup like consistency, I always leave it out until it completely cools before putting it in the refrigerator. Sometimes I forget or fall asleep and leave it out all night......no problems so far, but I seem to have a pretty strong stomach.....
     
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  12. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    Well pizza IS magic.
     
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  13. rolsen

    rolsen Member

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    No kidding! Re potato salad, the most dangerous part is the preparation - potatoes take forever to cool down if done improperly (i.e. in a deep container), so the damage is done before it even hits the picnic table.
     
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  14. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    So all 'cream' dips would be dubious health risks?
     
  15. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    It's either very new cheese or very old meat.
     
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  16. rolsen

    rolsen Member

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    Not necessarily, especially if we're talking about mixing up a ranch dip or the like - nothing big and hot that might cool too slowly. Mixing up a sour cream dip only requires you use or toss in 4 hrs. If you've got a huge batch, keep the batch in the fridge and dole out portions for eating.
     
  17. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    I wanna learn to make soup from scratch. Make a batch, keep it (in the refrigerator) for a few days, have some every couple of days.

    Eventually I'll start a thread about it, asking for people's experiences, good books or websites etc.

    Don't want to highjack this one. It's about potential painful lingering death, or least violent sickness--that's more than enough for one thread.
     
  18. Promiscuous Nun

    Promiscuous Nun Member

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    One night for soup? nah, don't worry. I do that all the time, even going 1.5 or even 2 days before putting it in the fridge (or freezing it at that point). I'm still fine :p

    Even do the same with my pasta/tomato sauce...it's vegi tho.
    If you cook with meat or fish, that's another story...

    Cheers! And have a nice dinner!
     
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  19. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    Stir in a little bleach....

    Seriously, if you have to ask... the answer is no.
     
  20. Matt Jones

    Matt Jones Member

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    No I would not eat soup left out overnight.
     

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