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TOPIC: Left turkey out overnight, is it okay?

 
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November 27, 2013 11:42 AM
QUOTE:

We leave our turkey to defrost out of the fridge for 12-24 hours, I've done this every year, I'm not dead


are you sure you're not dead?? where is the proof??
  22872058
November 27, 2013 11:42 AM
OMG I can't believe people here would eat a turkey left at ROOM TEMPERATURE overnight! Please please don't eat it...and if you DO decide to cook it? PLEASE TELL EVERYONE BEFORE *THEY* EAT IT!
November 27, 2013 11:43 AM
Youll be aiiight

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November 27, 2013 11:44 AM
QUOTE:

OMG I can't believe people here would eat a turkey left at ROOM TEMPERATURE overnight! Please please don't eat it...and if you DO decide to cook it? PLEASE TELL EVERYONE BEFORE *THEY* EAT IT!


it's not like they left it out overnight and it's now AT room temperature. it's still cold and probably still frozen on the inside.
  22872058
November 27, 2013 11:46 AM
QUOTE:

OMG I can't believe people here would eat a turkey left at ROOM TEMPERATURE overnight! Please please don't eat it...and if you DO decide to cook it? PLEASE TELL EVERYONE BEFORE *THEY* EAT IT!


OMG I can't believe you would even consider throwing out a turkey that was frozen when sat out and thawed out and put back in the fridge the next morning. Mine's out right now, been out all day (with the heat on) and I'll put it in the fridge before I go to bed and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it. The darn turkey is fine to eat. This has been common practice thru out the years of home cooking.
  20634412
November 27, 2013 11:47 AM
Nope Sorry ya can't convince me to eat poultry left at room temp for that long! Turkey is not that expensive....toss it out and get 'nuther one.
November 27, 2013 11:47 AM
Its fine. Time to cook it.
  20598018
November 27, 2013 11:51 AM
On average, you're going to cook a 20 lb-ish turkey at 325 degrees for 6 - 6.5 hours until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. That should kill anything that may have sprouted while your turkey was thawing.

Honestly, I think people do freak out about food cleanliness in general. We're living in a 1st world country, our food is literally the cleanest in the world. Also, our bodies have natural defenses against food-born pathogens and bacteria. Put those together and add the fact that all you did was thaw the damn thing, I bet you'll be fine.
November 27, 2013 11:52 AM
QUOTE:

On average, you're going to cook a 20 lb-ish turkey at 325 degrees for 6 - 6.5 hours until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. That should kill anything that may have sprouted while your turkey was thawing.

Honestly, I think people do freak out about food cleanliness in general. We're living in a 1st world country, our food is literally the cleanest in the world. Also, our bodies have natural defenses against food-born pathogens and bacteria. Put those together and add the fact that all you did was thaw the damn thing, I bet you'll be fine.


#1stWorldProblems
  683818
November 27, 2013 11:54 AM
I have just asked my husband who is a microbiologist and he said it will be fine don't worry. We pay absolutely no attentio to use by or sell by dates either. If it smells fine just eat it.
  11605701
November 27, 2013 11:59 AM
QUOTE:

OMG I can't believe people here would eat a turkey left at ROOM TEMPERATURE overnight! Please please don't eat it...and if you DO decide to cook it? PLEASE TELL EVERYONE BEFORE *THEY* EAT IT!


It never even made it close to room temperature.
  6438378
November 27, 2013 12:01 PM
I have to agree with the EAT IT group and the microbiologist.

I do understand the point that the restaurant folks make, but really, you are feeding the general public food that has been cooked by a crew of people of unknown cleanliness (i worked in QUITE a few restaurants...i know of what i speak!). I would only hope the rules are more strict in a commercial kitchen than in a private home.

Don't stuff it, cook it correctly and enjoy!
  3666532
November 27, 2013 12:06 PM
Make sure you cook it thoroughly, 65 degrees Centigrade (NOT Fahrenheit!!!) all the way through. There's a risk with poultry anyway even if you do all the thawing etc properly, due to salmonella and similar (i.e. contamination from the slaughterhouse etc), so all poultry should always be cooked this thoroughly anyway. You can get meat thermometers to make sure, although you can tell by the colour and texture of poultry if it's been cooked through (it should be white or pale (i.e. not pink), the juices should run clear, and it should be falling off the bone).

65 Centigrade is hot enough to kill all bacteria that are harmful to humans. And viruses. (But not prions. But you won't get prion disease from leaving a turkey out overnight. You can avoid that by not feeding sheep's brains to cows (that should be obvious, but it wasn't obvious to the British government back in the 60s 70s and 80s...))

exception: there's a kind of exotoxic bacteria that can grow in rice, if you cook rice, then leave it at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, you should chuck it away because even if you reheat it thoroughly, because while cooking kills the bacteria, it doesn't destroy the toxin it produces, so you can still get sick even though all the bacteria are dead. Salmonella and stuff that infects poultry isn't like that though.

Be careful when preparing food, because a lot of food poisoning comes from cross contamination, e.g. raw meat bacteria getting into prepared foods like salads etc, so while the bacteria in the meat itself gets killed while cooking, if it contaminates prepared food it won't get killed. If your turkey's been at room temperature for a while then there's a greater risk of this. Personally, I treat all raw meat as though it is contaminated, just in case it is. So things like separate preparing area, chopping board, utensils etc for raw meat preparation, and I wash my hands in dettol handwash after handling it, and make sure all the stuff used for the raw meat preparation is washed in hot water with plenty of washing up liquid.


ETA: I regularly eat chicken breasts that have been left to thaw for 24 hrs (sometimes longer if I forget) and then cooked through. I also buy them in 2kg frozen batches, thaw them, cook half, re-freeze half, then a week or so later re-thaw and cook the other half. So these ones probably get 48 hrs at room temperature before being cooked and eaten. I make sure they get cooked through thoroughly and take precautions to avoid cross contamination before cooking them. Also, after being cooked they sit in the fridge cooked for up to a week then used in salads and sandwiches. So yes I follow my own advice re the above.
Edited by neandermagnon On November 27, 2013 12:10 PM
November 27, 2013 12:15 PM
QUOTE:

On average, you're going to cook a 20 lb-ish turkey at 325 degrees for 6 - 6.5 hours until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. That should kill anything that may have sprouted while your turkey was thawing.

Honestly, I think people do freak out about food cleanliness in general. We're living in a 1st world country, our food is literally the cleanest in the world. Also, our bodies have natural defenses against food-born pathogens and bacteria. Put those together and add the fact that all you did was thaw the damn thing, I bet you'll be fine.


I agree. I think a lot of the food hygiene rules, especially for restaurants, takes the "belt and braces" approach, in case someone elsewhere in the kitchen isn't following the rules. But in your own kitchen when you're doing everything yourself and eating the food yourself, you don't need to be as strict.

To get food posioning, you need 3 things to happen:

1. the food gets contaminated by a harmful microorganism
2. the microorganism gets a chance to breed into high enough numbers to make someone ill
3. the microorganisms don't die or get killed before the food is eaten

restaurants will have rules to prevent all three of these occurring and will throw out the food if any of them could have occurred in their kitchen. For the home kitchen, it's best to assume that 1. happened already in the slaughter house, 2. may have happened in the supermarket, so make sure that 3 is taken care of by cooking all the food thoroughly. But in most cases in the home kitchen, 1 and 2 won't have happened, but 3 is a good idea anyway just in case.

You need to be stricter for small kids, the elderly, people with weak immune systems and pregnant women.
Edited by neandermagnon On November 27, 2013 12:16 PM
November 27, 2013 12:28 PM
Nope. I would not cook it. Too much of a risk.
November 27, 2013 12:41 PM
you could always take it to a taxidermist and have it mounted for display in your den.

it would make for a great conversation piece for future Thanksgivings.

tongue
November 27, 2013 12:44 PM
QUOTE:

Man, I literally leave meat out before I go to work, and cook it when I get home...and that's just for every day meats 1lb at a time or so.

That turkey is fine. Eat it up.


This is not ok to do. I hope if any of you that leave meat/ turkey out over night cook for others that you tell them and give them the choice to eat it or not. I am not comfortable with thawing meat at room temp, regardless of its it cold or not. I would want to know if you were serving me thanksgiving turkey
November 27, 2013 12:55 PM
QUOTE:

If it was cold in the refrigerator, then everyone would say it is fine.

If it is still cold on the counter, people freak out.

Does anyone else logic? If it's still cold, then of course it's just fine. If it got up to room temperature, then definitely no, but it didn't.

Seriously....


Here's logic for you.

1) Bacteria grow even at refrigerator temps. They just do it slower.

2) In the refrigerator, the thawed bird would be the same temperature the whole way through. On the counter, it is coldest at the core and warmest at the surface.

3) Coincidentally, the surface is where you're likely to have the most problems with bacterial contamination.

4) Common bacteria that cause food poisoning double their population roughly every hour at room temp. (depends on the species and strain)

4) The bird has essentially had overnight to grow a nice culture at close to room temperature on its surface. Is this enough to cause food poisoning? Not if the bird didn't have many bacteria to start. But if it did, and there's no way to know, then yes.

Personally, I wouldn't take the risk. But then, I'm a microbiologist (technically - I don't work as one now, but I have the PhD). No, seriously. My bug of choice was E. coli, and we also worked with Salmonella so I know what I'm talking about as far as growth curves.

Besides, I've had food poisoning before and it took me more than a month to get completely over it. Never again if I can help it.
Edited by stealthq On November 27, 2013 12:58 PM
  41012893
November 27, 2013 1:06 PM
Just finished reading the rest of the posts.

To all of you who say 'just cook it and you'll be fine': you don't know what you're talking about. You'll be fine if the contaminating bacteria doesn't produce toxins as it grows on your food.

But what if it's Staphylococcus (and don't forget Staph is common)? It produces all of those nasty toxins as it grows. Cooking kills the bug, but doesn't phase the toxins. Cook it as thoroughly as you like. It'll still make you sick.
  41012893
November 27, 2013 1:08 PM
There's no way the surface of the bird spent any significant time above 40 or so degrees.
  6438378
November 27, 2013 1:13 PM
QUOTE:


exception: there's a kind of exotoxic bacteria that can grow in rice, if you cook rice, then leave it at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, you should chuck it away because even if you reheat it thoroughly, because while cooking kills the bacteria, it doesn't destroy the toxin it produces, so you can still get sick even though all the bacteria are dead. Salmonella and stuff that infects poultry isn't like that though.


Exotoxic bacteria, correct. Belief that such don't contaminate poultry is wrong. See above, re: Staphylococcus.

As general info, humans and animals are the significant source of Staph contamination - Staph is commonly found on our skin and hair, and in our nasal passages. So, it can contaminate just about anything we touch or (God forbid) sneeze or cough near.
  41012893
November 27, 2013 1:16 PM
Potentially hazardous foods are considered unsafe if they are left in the temperature danger zone for 4 hours or more. Temperature danger zone is 41F-135F. While it may still feel cold to the touch, are you sure it is still below 41F? Or are you sure of how long it has been there?

Personally, I wouldn't do it. And if I tried it at work, and guests got sick, they would sue and be totally justified because proper procedures were broken. I realize home kitchens don't operate under the same conditions as commercial ones...

It could be fine. If you get it up over 165F for 15 minutes, then you and your guests could be fine, but its not a risk I would be willing to take.
November 27, 2013 1:18 PM
Sounds like the "surface of the bird" spent a good 10 or so hours at 40+ degrees.

Regardless its OP's choice to cook it or not. I for one would be going shopping for a replacement. To all of you saying that restaurants have to abide by strict rules, you are right and it's for the well being of the public. I for one am glad for that and honestly would want to provide that for my family if I had the option.

Im not a fan of food poisioning, let alone for the holidays.
  8054735
November 27, 2013 1:19 PM
U.S. Food and Drug Administration says no. If it were me, I'd toss it.

""The Big Thaw"

Turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature during "the big thaw." While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. However, as soon as it begins to thaw, any bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again.

A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140 °F — at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly."

Source link: http://1.usa.gov/1boTESP
November 27, 2013 1:22 PM
Absolutely not. I am a certified ServSafe Food Safety Instructor and poultry is already a high risk food, but add to that the fact that it wasn't maintained at a safe thawing temperature of less than 41 degrees and you have a good possibility of bacteria growth.

I'd also thoroughly clean and disinfect the area that you had the bird sitting out overnight and anything you may have touched with contaminated hands. E Coli and Salmonella poisoning is no fun.
  48105619

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