Food Safety Questions and Answers: Perishable Food

If pizza has been left out overnight, is it safe to eat?
Food Safety Questions and Answers: Perishable Food - News

Updated: August 18, 2018

Food Safety Questions and Answers: Perishable Food

A father and daughter using a food thermometer while mom cooks in the background / SNAP-Ed Connection

The answer to that question is no. Perishable food should never be left out of refrigeration more than 2 hours. This is true even if there are no meat products on the pizza. Foodborne bacteria that may be present on these foods grow fastest in the “Danger Zone” (the temperatures between 40°F and 140°F) and can double in number every 20 minutes.

I don’t have a car and I need to take the bus to get my groceries. Will the food be safe by the time I get home?

Whether you use public transportation or have your own car, its important that perishable purchases are refrigerated within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F). First, when buying food, avoid cross- contamination by placing raw meat, poultry, seafood in plastic bags and keep them separate from other foods in your grocery-shopping cart. Make cold foods the last items you place in your shopping cart. After your purchases are bagged, go home immediately.

If you cannot get home within the recommended times, take a cooler with frozen gel packs to keep perishable food safe on the way home.

Source: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Authors

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) PA Nutrition Education TRACKS (SNAP-Ed)

More by Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.