Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 07-04-2013, 10:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,109
The inevitable "I left it out overnight, is it safe to eat" question - yep, need answer fast

So I made a potato salad late last night. It contains potatoes boiled in water and a 9% white vinegar mix (about 1/4 cup), and has a nice vinegary smell. For the binder, I used mayo mixed with Miracle Whip, and added in the usual pickles, onion, and celery, and spices. Finished this about 11 pm, and woke at 8 to realize I'd left it (covered) on the stovetop. House is about 68 degrees, potato salad smelled fine. Bunged it in the fridge.

I know that mayo and MW have enough acid to inhibit microbe growth, and plus I had the 9% vinegar thing going on with the potatoes. I'm leaning toward saying it's A-OK, but wanted to ask y'all if you would have doubts.
#2
Old 07-04-2013, 10:22 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 5,718
Potato salad is one of those foods you should be extra cautious with, but that said, covered for 9ish hours at 68 degrees and I would still eat it. But, even though it's now in the fridge, you STILL need to eat it ASAP - preferably for lunch.
#3
Old 07-04-2013, 10:31 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,109
Oh yeah, it won't make it past late afternoon. I tend to be very picky about food prep, so I'm not worried about cross contamination. Everything went into the salad "clean," veggies cleaned, etc. I figure the vinegar gives a little insurance as well.
#4
Old 07-04-2013, 10:50 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 117
Health code would say no. 6 hours under 70 f (above 40f) is the limit on potentially hazardous products like that. Boiled potatoes and mayonnaise are both excellent growth medium for unpleasant microbes.

That being said, as long as you are not serving it to the public, go for it, most likely it is fine, and if not, the worst you will experience is a bit of gastro-intestinal issues, as long as you are otherwise healthy, I seriously doubt you would even notice.

Do not feed it to children, elderly, or others who may have weaker immune systems.
#5
Old 07-04-2013, 11:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
report back in a day or two.

either way have a nice 4th.
#6
Old 07-04-2013, 12:39 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 18,759
So the major concern here is salmonella from the eggs in the mayo. While mayonnaise by itself doesn't contain enough free water to support bacterial growth, the other ingredients in your salad provide plenty, as well as lots of nutrients, making it a lovely medium for growing bacteria. While I don't want to take the time to calculate pH levels, my gut reaction is that throwing in a quarter cup of vinegar into the mix is unlikely to make it so acidic as to prevent growth. I think the best thing you can hope for is that there were no (or not very many) salmonella bacteria in the mayo to begin with, and that's a bit iffy.

I'm generally of the "yeah, that's probably fine" school of thought, but I'd toss this out without a second thought.

I have a BS in microbiology, FWIW.
#7
Old 07-04-2013, 12:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6,633
Eggs in commercial mayonnaise isn't a problem. It doesn't even need to be refrigerated after opening.
#8
Old 07-04-2013, 02:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 1,175
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Eggs in commercial mayonnaise isn't a problem. It doesn't even need to be refrigerated after opening.
Yeah, mayonnaise gets a bad rap:

http://homecooking.about.com/od/howt...yospoilage.htm

Homemade mayo, with raw egg yolks? Sure, I wouldn't leave that out for too long. But Hellman's or Best Foods or whatever? Don't worry about it.
#9
Old 07-04-2013, 03:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 18,759
Pure mayonnaise is safe at room temperature because, as I said, the water activity is too low to support microbial growth. Even if the eggs were teeming with salmonella, it couldn't grow in the mayo. The danger is when you mix bacteria-harboring mayonnaise with some other ingredient that provides the water the bacteria need to grow.
#10
Old 07-04-2013, 03:59 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 13,305
It depends on whether you have immunized yourself against the ordinary household pathogens or not. If you regularly eat things that you find on the floor the next day or two (like I do) you can eat virtually anything and suffer no ill effects. But if you never, ever eat anything that has been left at room temperature for ten minutes, and you put your cutting board in the dishwasher every night, then your digestive system will be taken by surprise, and all hell might break loose in there.

In your case, I'd say no, your body is not safe for anything out of the sterile ordinary.

We have a jar of mayonnaise (and other things) that stays in the car all the time, so it is there if we ever go on a hasty picnic or pick up things to eat along the road (yes, like from dumpsters), and we've never suffered any ill effects from year-old mayo at room temp.

Last edited by jtur88; 07-04-2013 at 04:01 PM.
#11
Old 07-04-2013, 04:38 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 18,759
That is simply not true. You are not going to immunize yourself against salmonella, no matter what you do. I have explained twice already why it's safe to eat uncontaminated mayonnaise that has not been refrigerated; it has nothing to do with your long-term eating habits.
#12
Old 07-04-2013, 05:21 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 48,816
I assumed jtur88 was kidding - maybe not?

As for the OP, I'd still eat the potato salad. I've left my share of stuff out on the counter overnight and eaten it later with no ill effects. I try not to make a habit of it, though.
#13
Old 07-04-2013, 05:32 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,757
jtur88, that is some of the most potentially dangerous advice I've ever heard on here. Don't go around spreading misinformation like that as fact. Eating random things off the floor that have been sitting around 1 or 2 days does not immunize you against food poisoning.
#14
Old 07-04-2013, 05:54 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hoboken
Posts: 1,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
Pure mayonnaise is safe at room temperature because, as I said, the water activity is too low to support microbial growth. Even if the eggs were teeming with salmonella, it couldn't grow in the mayo.
Not sure that I am going to agree with your reasoning there. The water activity of mayo is plenty high enough to support all sorts of microbial growth. The low pH and high salt (plus some other stuff) is what mostly prevents the growth.

Salmonella is classified as a food pathogen, which is treated quite differently than spoilage organisms. Salmonella issues in mayo are largely prevented by not putting it into the product in the first place. That is why the eggs that go into mayo are pasteurized. I don't recall how well mayo will kill salmonella that may get into the product, but I think that it is not a friendly place for it to live.

Yes, I used to work for a company that makes some of the most popular mayo brands in the US.
#15
Old 07-05-2013, 02:44 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,634
I would think the major concern would be staph aureus. Don't ask me why . . . all I know is practically every staph-aureus-food-poisoning board exam question involved potato salad that had sat on a picnic table too long.
#16
Old 07-05-2013, 07:02 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: was Montreal, now MD
Posts: 7,116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
I would think the major concern would be staph aureus. Don't ask me why . . . all I know is practically every staph-aureus-food-poisoning board exam question involved potato salad that had sat on a picnic table too long.
Yep. Classic exam question for micro. And that leftover rice is always Bacillus!

It's often Staphylococcus. The bacteria get in there from moving the salad around, leaving it uncovered, and having people jam spoons into it to serve themselves, all while it's sitting out on a warm table. You may be fine, since you just made it (hope you washed your hands well) and left it there without a whole lot of exposure or poking, but I wouldn't eat it. Microbiology training makes you a little more wary of food poisoning.

And bacteria grow fine in potato salad, even if the mayo is salty and acidic.
#17
Old 07-05-2013, 07:41 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,477
Having worked as a night cleaner in a mayonnaise factory, I'd be iffy about trusting the stuff. It's four in the morning.... eyes are closing..... did I remember to put the sterilizing fluid in the water?.... gosh there are eggs all over the place.... can't wait for bed.... another two hours to go ?.... can hardly hold this hose...... zzz zzzz
#18
Old 07-05-2013, 10:36 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,104
The risk of an egg being contaminated with salmonella is exceedingly low: 1 in 20,000. That's 0.005%. Do you feel lucky?

I'd eat it.
#19
Old 07-05-2013, 11:02 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: was Montreal, now MD
Posts: 7,116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachellelogram View Post
The risk of an egg being contaminated with salmonella is exceedingly low: 1 in 20,000. That's 0.005%. Do you feel lucky?

I'd eat it.
That may be true, but the biggest culprit in potato salad food poisonings isn't Salmonella. It's Staphylococcus, which is normal skin flora that gets in there during the preparation of the salad, or as people interact with the bowl of food on the picnic table.
#20
Old 07-05-2013, 11:35 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachellelogram View Post
The risk of an egg being contaminated with salmonella is exceedingly low: 1 in 20,000. That's 0.005%. Do you feel lucky?

I'd eat it.
Having had salmonella, I can tell you that it's not fun. I landed in the hospital, and when things really started going bad, I got to spend 3 days in intensive (Either the salmonella itself or some opportunistic bastards decided to make a play for my heart). You get real risk-adverse, real fast.

In case anyone wonders, I did make a full recovery
#21
Old 07-05-2013, 01:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Smurf Village.
Posts: 10,597
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
(yes, like from dumpsters)
The best steak I ever had was from a dumpster.
#22
Old 07-05-2013, 02:23 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 48,816
I saw an episode of, what the hell was it called - "I'm An Extremely Cheap Bastard"? that featured a woman who went dumpster-diving for food. She pulled a couple of cakes that were still in their plastic clamshells out of the garbage, and served them to her family (they were told where the food came from). I'm on the fence about dumpster food - some food would be just fine pulled out of a dumpster after many days, and other food I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

Not that I need to eat food out of a dumpster or anything, but I'm not getting any younger, and our pension system isn't getting any healthier.
#23
Old 07-08-2013, 01:31 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,109
Cat Whisperer, that's just gross. I mean, if you have to eat that way to survive, then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I think I could live without cake from the dumpster.

Just checking in to say thanks for the good advice. Potato salad was consumed on July 4, and it's July 8, no ill effects suffered (from the salad, at least). We did have a family member who got extremely drunk, fell over, and spent a few hours in the ER that night, but I'm going to infer that was due to the alcohol and not the food (which everyone ate). And it was good (potatoes were a tad undercooked, but otherwise fine)!
#24
Old 07-08-2013, 01:36 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 11,579
What was he in the ER for? (This thread was getting boring anyway...)
#25
Old 07-08-2013, 02:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
What was he in the ER for? (This thread was getting boring anyway...)
Combination of being up very early, steadily imbibing beer, wine, and spirits... Later in the evening he fell on the way to the bathroom, seemed incoherent and argumentative. Kind of spooked everyone (we thought he might have had a concussion from the fall). He got an IV at the ER and was discharged about 2 hours later, fortunately with no ill effects, except for the killer hangover on Friday morning.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:49 PM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: waxing car windows shows like broadchurch moonshine sale new york cheddar yoda battle runner jumps drawbridge remainder bookseller ebay max bid burglar outfit buying spores big swallows urine and bleach academic dossier sap sucks what is hodges smallest multivitamin submarine emergency surface american nobility trashy girl names tmc showtime girl seeing water faucet sputtering monticello pronounce big dipper lyrics soda bottle sizes rapture bumper sticker cheetah canine cunt hat brian blosil wikipedia hug an engineer victorian turret sebastian villar rodriguez how often should a clutch be replaced what does drano do should you tip a tow truck driver definition of a drunk does black tattoo ink turn green how to make a cyanide suicide pill what makes snap on tools better best sheets on amazon reddit how to say play music in japanese homemade anti static wristband what can you mix with jack daniels besides coke firsthand or first hand police radar bands by state painless ways to put a dog down frequent urination not diabetes one way tire spikes 5 3 bank name why does tourettes cause swearing how to combine two mkv files handbrake you either have javascript turned off what can be used in place of nutmeg put the lime in the coconut commercial may we die in the forest what is a bobtail pinnacle armor out business cat claws leather furniture funny morning radio shows why is my pot roast tough retire in the uk jeep compass cruise control edgar allan poe public domain i want to hug him and squeeze him quote