View Full Version : Will those hot dogs kill me? (Need answer fast!)

04-29-2009, 08:44 PM
The other day I accidentally left a package of four Hebrew National hot dogs out on the kitchen counter overnight. They sat at room temp for about 8 hours until I found them the next morning and put them back in the fridge.

What do you think? Are they safe to eat? (I normally cook them in my microwave for about 30-40 seconds.)

My guess is that they're okay, but I don't need to experience food poisoning just avoid wasting four hot dogs. So if the teeming masses say toss them, I will. Thanks.

Geek Mecha
04-29-2009, 08:58 PM
If the package was sealed, I don't see the problem.

04-29-2009, 09:04 PM
No, it was open. I'd cooked three of the seven in the package, and left the remaining four out, in the opened package, on the counter.

Also, I meant to mention that have no concerns about possible contamination from mice or insects.

04-29-2009, 09:08 PM
If you were a restaurant I would tell you that health codes would require you to throw them away. But realistically they're probably fine. They pump a lot of preservatives into those puppies. Hamburger would be doubtful, however.

04-29-2009, 09:15 PM
I wouldn't eat them raw but cooking them should be fine. It's not like the meat went directly from animal to the freezer. Most hot dogs are precooked anyway so that adds to their longevity.

04-29-2009, 09:25 PM
They are precooked from the factory.

04-29-2009, 09:26 PM
This isn't like a roast or something where the mass of the meat would help keep it cool overnight. After 30 minutes or so they were at room temperature and then stayed that way for the rest of the night. That's a lot more risk than I'd take for a nice ribeye, much less four hot dogs. Why even take a chance? I'd toss them.

04-29-2009, 09:27 PM
I'd cook them longer than 30-40 seconds in a microwave. Actually, microwaves are notorious for cold and hot spots, and the cooler spots won't kill anything. Would you be willing to boil these for a few minutes instead? That's what I would do.

ETA: I'd smell them first. If they smell bad, toss 'em.

04-29-2009, 09:31 PM
It's cooked food, filled with salt and preservatives and vinegar. You're fine. Those things won't rot if you leave them out for weeks, they will just dry out and shrivel up.

Hockey Monkey
04-29-2009, 09:40 PM
When in doubt, throw it out.

(Or use for dog treats.)

04-30-2009, 12:35 AM
It's cooked food, filled with salt and preservatives and vinegar. You're fine. Those things won't rot if you leave them out for weeks, they will just dry out and shrivel up. I left some turkey sticks in the car for over a month (they aren't refrigerated in the store). I found the package and couldn't figure out why I had a ziplock bag full of hairy green cigars. I suspect there is some kind of time limit on the dogs.

Race Harley
04-30-2009, 12:44 AM
I vote for "Toss". Why risk it for 4 'dogs? :confused:

04-30-2009, 12:54 AM
It's cooked food, filled with salt and preservatives and vinegar. ...Vinegar?
In hot dogs?
It ain't on the ingredient list,INGREDIENTS: Beef, water, salt, contains 2% or less of spice, paprika, hydrolyzed soy protein, garlic powder, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, flavorings.CITE (http://hebrewnational.com/pages/products/franks/beef_franks.jsp)

CMC fnord!

04-30-2009, 12:59 AM
Cooking food won't necessarily get rid of nasty things in it. Some bacteria (botulism, for instance) will produce toxins in food, and even if you kill the bacteria, the toxins they've already made can remain. I don't know whether any toxin-producing bacteria eat hot dogs, but I wouldn't rule it out (especially since good-quality dogs like Hebrew National probably use considerably less preservatives than your standard Oscar Meyer).

04-30-2009, 01:28 AM
No, toss them.

04-30-2009, 08:18 AM
What's your copay for an Emergency Room visit for vomiting and diarrhea?

Throw them out.

04-30-2009, 08:41 AM
ETA: I'd smell them first. If they smell bad, toss 'em.If it smells bad, it is bad, but the lack of a smell doesn't mean it's safe. There are lots of foodborne illnesses that don't reveal themselves by smell.

04-30-2009, 09:47 AM
Cooked food out overnight? The risks are low. Sausages were created as a preserved food, centuries before there was any refrigeration.

Picard Kills Kirk
04-30-2009, 10:08 AM
I could swear this exact thread appeared here about 2 months ago. I think I might be going crazy. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten those dogs...

04-30-2009, 10:25 AM
The standard clinical approach is to cook one now and feed it to a roommate or an acquaintance you're not especially fond of. Refrigerate the remaining three. If the test subject seems fine after several hours, you can eat the last three after he leaves.

Realistically, however, eating hot dogs will eventually kill you even if they haven't been left out to get warm. ;)

04-30-2009, 10:36 AM
They'll be fine*. You may want to cook them through if you're feeling paranoid (yes, technically there may be toxins in the food that microbes have produced, but this is pretty unlikely).

Only in our modern paranoid germophobe society is eight hours a long time to leave food unrefrigerated at room temperature. Obviously you have to be bit more careful with cooked meats, but really it will be fine.

* - Unless you have a weakened immune system, or are otherwise dangerously susceptible to infections, in which case being paranoid is the best course of action.

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