How long does food stay fresh without being refrigerated?
It depends on the food. There are some foods that can last for a long time without refrigeration. Other foods can't last for more than a couple hours. For example, uncooked, dried beans or pasta will keep a year or more unrefrigerated. Foods that are normally refrigerated should never be allowed to sit at room temperature more than 2 hours. Moist foods, especially those with protein, provide a breeding ground for food-borne illness that can even be fatal. The general rule is that these foods should be kept below 40 degrees (in the refrigerator) or above 140 degrees (hot). If it's a food that you would normally refrigerate, please don't eat it if it's been at room temp more than 2 hours, maximum. (Just a reminder -- food can contain staph or other nasty bacteria even if it looks and smells fine.)
How soon food will spoil without refrigeration will depend on a variety of variables including: the ambient temperature, the type of food and the microbes present in the food.
Once the temperature of potentially hazardous food itself (like meat, milk, poultry, seafood, cooked beans, processed produce, etc) has gotten above 40°F for more than 2 hours, the food should be discarded. The food might not actually appear spoiled and there is the possibility that the food could be perfectly safe for longer than that, BUT foodborne pathogens and toxins don't make their presence known until many hours after the food has been consumed. The 2 hour guideline is conservative, but it would be better to discard the food than to suffer the consequences.
Yes, refrigerated meat stays fresh longer than meat in the open air, unless of course the open air is freezing. The colder the storage the longer the shelf life. But if you don't know this then you really shouldn't be handling your own food. Yes, refrigerated meat stays fresh longer than meat in the open air, unless of course the open air is freezing. The colder the storage the longer the shelf life. But if…
Poultry that is cooked can be a potentially hazardous food if not properly refrigerated. Once the temperature has gotten above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours, the food should be discarded. The food might not actually appear spoiled but foodbourne pathogens and toxins do not make their presence known until many hours after the food has been consumed. The two hour guideline is conservative, but it would be better to discard the food…
Depends which kind of food. Milk-about 3 hours max Meat-about just a few hours max === === Food that requires refrigeration should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Less time is even better. In fact, if the ambient temperature is around 90°F, the food should not be left out for more than 1 hour.
This is a bit of an unusual question -- so a clarification is necessary. The wise guy in me says that "food should be refrigerated until you want to eat it!" The question should be, 'how long should food be safely refrigerated'. That's all -- and the answer to the question is refrigerate until used, and if it spoils dispose of it!