Oops, left meat out

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by iashane, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. iashane

    iashane Fire Starter

    Question for you guys,

    I got out a 3# chuck roast and a 4#ish rolled rump roast from the freezer last night. I put them in casserole dishes to be thawed and meant to put them in the refrigerator but ended up forgetting to. That was about 7:00 last night and I put them in the fridge this morning. They were thawed and were cool but I didn't get a thermometer to see where they were sitting at.

    I know what the safe cooking temps are, and I planned on cooking these to 205* for pulled beef. Would they be safe to eat cooked to that high of temp?

    At first I thought sure, but then thought I'd ask. I've googled it and for the most part people say yes if cooked to a high enough temp. I wouldn't try it medium rare but at 205-210*?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Because they were frozen when you took them out, I'd smoke them to the higher temp.
  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Temperature will not matter

    This is a tough one and don't want to misinform anyone, but will try my best to explain, I'm not going all scientific here, because I'm not that smart!!

    If it was me I would cook it, however to run the meat temp higher thinking that it will be safe is untrue, the problem is not the live bacteria, the problem is the toxins they leave behind when they die.

    Pathogens are live bacteria and cooking to safe temps will kill the bacteria and eating dead bacteria is usually not harmful. There is one exception: bacteria that produce toxins. Those toxins can not be eliminated by heating. That is why you cannot make spoiled food safe to eat by heating it, so if the food is spoiled you risk getting sick.

    But like I said before in other posts, I don't always practice what I preach, toss it would be what I am preaching but cooking it would be what I would do, but rest assured I would definitely try it out at least 6 hours before I let anyone else try it or it would end up in a stew for my lunches.

    Folks at High risk would be the elderly, younger children and immunocompromised folks.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  4. You need to make sure you exceed 85c/185f for at least 5 minutes according to FDA/CDC guidelines on destroying the toxins.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Would you mind "copy and paste" that article url...... Thanks.....
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I usually go by how fresh the meat was when frozen, its not uncommon for me to thaw meats overnight in the sink to cook the next day. If the meat was frozen because it's due date was running out, its a problem. On the other hand if it had weeks to go before the due date, if I purchased it for the freezer, I have no problem allowing it to quick thaw. I usually do turkeys in a 5 gal bucket of cold water over night.

    But that is me. I also stayed underwater for 3 to 4 months at a time, and jumped out of perfectly good air planes too. I am not to bright, but as it applies to your meat and not mine. Safe is the best way to go. It would be terrible to make someone sick from YOUR food. No one can tell you better than its your call. Or the USDA says.............

    Like Eastwood would say,
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ah HA!  That explains a lot.  No wonder I like you FH!
  8. iashane

    iashane Fire Starter

    You are correct SQWIB, it's the waste products that the bacteria give off that are bad. I took a food science college course a few years ago, maybe 5, and distinctly remember my prof talking about this. The toxins are proteins, and heating to a specific temp would break down these proteins. If I remember correctly. M-fine touches on this below.

    Thanks to all for the responses. My first opinion was that it would be fine, and that since it was butcher processed and immediately frozen, cooking it to that high of a temp would fine. A google search turns up that most people say it's fine, a few say pitch it. After that food science course I became a lot more picky and obsessive over my food. I'm about 98% ok with still cooking it, but even at that high a percentage I still don't know if it's enough.
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good information and Thank you for the link.

    However to be safe we can not assume that all types of toxins can be destroyed by heat.
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We also need to remember that the time is cumulative, this means that the clock starts ticking once it was thrown in your cart, taken to the car and placed in the refrigerator, many folks don't consider this.

    I still say you cant bring back spoiled food. But is it spoiled? we wont know until someone has eaten it.

    I have tempted fate with a 9 pound pork butt and lived to tell about it, but took the chance by myself, no one else.
    • If my mom called and said she left some meat out overnight is it safe? I would say toss it and I'll be right over with a replacement.
    • If one of my friends asked the same question I would say proceed at your own risk it may be spoiled and may get you sick.
    • If It was me I would of course weigh my options but would take the chance on my self.
    • If an SMF member asked this question it has to be "When in Doubt, Throw it out!
    Here is a PDF called the Bad Bug Book its a bit extensive but covers a lot.
  11. With that thinking you shouldn't eat anything. You can't assume refrigeration will prevent all bacteria growth (it won't) or that heat will destroy all spores or toxins before the meat is turned to charcoal. Same with any cure or preservative. No food is 100% safe, but the vast majority of food poisoning cases are related to a handful of causes that can be managed.

    If the meat was still cold to touch and didn't look or smell bad. AND it is cooked to 185, you have a much higher chance of getting killed by lightning while grilling it than dropping dead from food poisoning after eating it.
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Really dude! 

    First off, I was offering the Original Poster insight not an answer, I just want to be clear to all who read this..

    And you are comparing apples to oranges... If you left your food unrefrigerated (at room temperature) overnight, that's a no no, PERIOD. Whether its safe or not you won't know till you eat it, You cant compare that to properly handled food.

    You can justify this any which way you want by comparing lightning to pathogens, but the simple fact is that leaving food out at room temperature overnight is unsafe its a RISK or Gamble that many of us take and most of the time everything is fine.

    But I Would have to ask myself, would I feel comfortable serving this meat to an elderly person, a young child, a pregnant woman????

    However everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect yours, please respect mine.
  13. Really, any food Can theoretically kill you and following any set of safety guidelines will not provide 100% protection. There is no point is using facts or science arguing with people on this forum about food safety. There are some who think all sorts of things will cause people to drop dead and no lack of actual bodies, scientific testing, or government guidelines will change their minds.

    In my opinion, if no one in the US has died from an imagined threat in the last decade or two, I am not going to get hysterical worrying about it and instead I am going to focus my worries on the things that really do kill people. In this case, the expected threats are neutralized at 185 degrees and I would suggest the OP not eat the meat if it is not fully cooked. Beyond that is his concern, but for those who say it is unsafe, please post a link to the CDC article discussing the pathogen that survives, it's prevalence in beef that has been left out too long, and the number of Americans it has killed in the last decade.

    If you can prove me wrong with science I will happily come back here admit I was wrong and eat some crow. Otherwise I will be eating some cold smoked salmon that was NOT cured with nitrates or nitrites (Oh the horror!) and moving on to more productive threads.

    PS. For those concerned, my salmon will be prepared in accordance with FDA guidelines that would qualify it as safe for commercial sale in the US even though this forum knows it will only be luck that keeps me from dropping dead.
  14. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Okay, that was all GREAT!!!

    I found a thesis online an out how to calculate the thaw rate of meat at any given initial temp and variable ambient temp but my engineering calculus is just too dusty to find the answer.

    I'd still eat the meat.
  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well you just said it in your own words so I guess it's a moot point so why bother.

    I think the OP has enough info to make an informed decision
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You are only talking about one relatively Rare Toxin that is destroyed by heat. There are much more common pathogens that produce Heat Stable Toxins where Smoker temps and even IT's of 205°F do nothing to the toxin. Here is a pretty good chart listing the Pathogen with a bunch of associated info...http://www.mda.state.mn.us/Global/MDADocs/food/foodsafety/mod-materials/fbmicrochart.aspx

    I am highly trained in preventing food borne illness and food safety and as a result, I evaluate each situation on an individual bases. It is however SMF Policy that based on USDA/FDA Guidelines we at a minimum will issue a Warning that, " They have exceeded the Time Temperature abuse limit by exposing food to room temperatures longer than 2 hours and they are at risk for Food Poisoning. " This is done either in these exact words or put forth as above by members that are knowledgeable and well respected. There is really no need to prove anything to you or any one and you are entitled to do what ever you wish with your food. But, please give complete and safe advice...JJ
  17. I personally would not eat it. My motto is "WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT".....A few dollars thrown away is not worth your health and safety...My opinion only...RTB..[​IMG]
  18. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    So if the above is fact why would they say this when sent an email asking about the subject??

    Original Message

    From: [[email protected]]
    Sent: 6/27/2014 5:10 PM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: CDC-INFO: Inquiry

    Subject: Botulism: Control Measures Overview for Clinicians

    Other: [othersubject]

    From: General Public

    Email Address: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Your Question: In the above mentioned "overview"... ?Despite its extreme potency, botulinum toxin is easily destroyed. Heating to an internal temperature of 85°C for at least 5 minutes will decontaminate affected food or drink. ....
    Does this treatment of botulinium infected food, make it safe for human consumption...

    Thanks for your time.... xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

    Optional Information

    Contact: [name], [title], [companyorganization]


    Reply below

    [email protected]

    Thank you for your inquiry to CDC-INFO. Your request for information on botulism control measures was forwarded to subject-matter experts at the CDC. We hope you find their response helpful.

    This treatment does inactivate any pre-formed toxin in food; however, due to the serious nature of botulism, if you have reason to believe a food could be contaminated you should not eat it.

    Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention

    Links to nonfederal organizations are provided as a service. Links are not an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government. CDC is not responsible for the content of organization websites found at these links.

    Thank you for contacting CDC-INFO. For more information, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), visit www.cdc.gov and click on “Contact CDC-INFO,” or go to www.cdc.gov/info. This e-mail is being sent from an unmonitored mailbox and CDC-INFO will not respond. If you have questions or comments, please send them via our online form at www.cdc.gov/info.

    CDC-INFO is a service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). This service is provided by Verizon and its subcontractors under the Networx Universal contract to CDC and ATSDR.

    Thank you.


    I think this part pretty much covers it 

    "due to the serious nature of botulism, if you have reason to believe a food could be contaminated you should not eat it."
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  19. woodman3

    woodman3 Smoke Blower

    This could be the most serious thread I have read on here. I usually just lerk on here. But I have to say WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT. Food poisoning is way to dangerous to mess with. My dad knew someone who faced death because of undercooked chicken.

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