How Long Can You Let Food Sit Out Before it Goes Bad?

How Long Can You Let Food Sit Out Before it Goes Bad?

We have all done it before. You go grocery shopping and buy food and forget to put it away or you take it out to defrost and forget all about it. Maybe you left food out after a meal because you told yourself you’d go back for seconds or maybe you let it sit out for a while before it was eaten in the first place.

So you’re probably wondering how long food can sit out for before it actually goes bad, right? It’s a great question, but there are a few factors to consider and we’ve got a few answers for you.

Type of Food

The first thing to consider is the type of food. Dairy products are going to spoil faster than some other products, like snacks, fruits and grains.

As a general rule of thumb, dairy products are only good an hour or two outside of the fridge before they go bad.

Meat, on the other hand, can usually last a few hours before it goes bad. When it comes to vegetables, they can typically sit out for a day or two depending on what it is.

Storage Method

Another thing to consider is whether the food was removed from the refrigerator or the freezer. Naturally, things you take from the freezer will last longer as they take a considerable amount of time to completely defrost.

Keep in mind that meats can take at least half a day to defrost while dairy products tend to only take just a few hours.

Surrounding Temperature

The last thing you must consider is the environment the food was left out in. Summer heat tends to wreak havoc on foods – higher temperatures drastically reduce how long you can leave things out for.

As you can see, there are lots of factors that go into determining whether or not food that was left out is safe to cook or consume. We recommend erring on the side of caution because it’s no fun dealing with a spoiled stomach.

Great food presented and prepared with care is our philosophy for producing fabulous events ranging from white tablecloth cuisine to beachside clambakes and boardroom lunches. Our menus are here to guide and inspire you, while making the process of planning your event an enjoyable and seamless one.