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Is This Left-Out Food Safe to Eat?

Photo of Leafy Green Vegetables. Photo by NastyaSensei from Pexels

It happens to all of us – we buy an item, bring it home, and leave it sitting out of the refrigerator or freezer for several hours, or even overnight when it belongs there while we are unpacking our grocery items in our kitchens. A lot of the time, this will result in spoilage, but not every time. I will answer the question of “Is This Food Safe to Eat?”, starting off with…

EGGS

In some parts of the world, eggs are already sold out of refrigeration, but in the parts of the world where they are kept refrigerated, eggs that are left out ARE safe to eat – in fact, you could leave them out for a couple of days and they will be safe. The caveat here is that for every day that eggs are left out of the cold, they lose one whole week off their shelf life, so don’t be alarmed if you leave out eggs – get cracking instead!

LEAFY GREENS

In some instances, such as if the item is on sale, stores will display leafy greens such as iceberg lettuce, spinach, or romaine hearts outside of refrigeration, These items will be fine to eat if left out, and if they have lost some of their crispness, simply shred them as you normally would for a salad and leave them sitting in water. Drain after 15-20 minutes, and then after giving your greens a whirl in a salad spinner, refrigerate for an hour. 

CERTAIN PROCESS CHEESE SLICES

Not all of them, but some types specifically state “Refrigerate After Opening” on the package. Those are good to go.


DAIRY IN SHELF-STABLE PACKAGING

As long as this item is still in a sealed package that doesn’t allow any light whatsoever into the package, this product – whether it be coffee creamer, milkshakes, or egg nog – will be perfectly safe to consume.

BERRIES AND GRAPES

These guys will be okay outside of the fridge but I’d advise you to eat them sooner than later. It’s also worth noting that the more your berries spend time both inside and outside of refrigeration, the faster they degrade in quality.

ANOTHER NOTE: HARD CHEESE

In addition, sometimes you will discover mould on food if the package has been opened in your fridge for some time. The only answer to this is to toss the item, with the sole exception of hard cheese, where as long as you remove one inch away from where the surface mould appears, the remaining cheese will still be safe to eat.

Mould itself doesn’t look like a whole lot, but it’s what the mould leaves in the food if you don’t see it anymore because it’s been wiped off – toxins still remain and can spread through the remaining food items. For this reason, you must toss the item.

About the Grocery Store Insider

The Grocery Store Insider has worked in grocery retail for close to 20 years, and has worked in multiple areas of the store including produce, fresh meats, deli, produce, dry grocery, frozen foods, dairy, and checkouts. The Grocery Store Insider also has a College diploma in Business Administration-Marketing.