Ah … the joys of summer!
Along with the beautiful, warm, sunny weather we’ve all been waiting for comes a habit many people fall prey to that’s a BIG food safety no-no: Eating food left out overnight. It’s a habit that poses a dangerous health risk, and we at Stop Foodborne Illness want to help you avoid it forevermore.
Here’s a typical scenario you’ve probably been in yourself a time or two:
You’re having a little get together at your place one evening and, after spending the day outside in the hot summer sun, the heat has got you beat—you’re definitely not cooking tonight. So, you order some pizza for all the guests. After everyone leaves, you’re so tired you forget all about the leftover pizza sitting on the kitchen counter. You head straight for bed. When you get up the next morning, you’re starving. And nothing sounds better than that pizza!
After many hours left sitting out, that room-temp pizza has had lots of time for lots of potentially harmful bacteria to grow. Bacteria that may make you violently ill with diarrhea and vomiting or worse—it could land you in the hospital with a full-blown foodborne illness that shuts down your organs and causes negative, long-term health consequences or death.
Now, you may be thinking:
My mom always left food out overnight, and I never got sick.
I only left the food out for a few hours so it’s not a big deal.
Lots of people leave food out overnight all the time and they don’t get sick.
So, please pay heed to these key points on why you should NEVER eat it:
The BOTTOM LINE?
Eating food left out overnight is a food safety no-no. No exceptions.
So, please make your personal pledge today to NEVER eat it. Even if you’re in the habit of doing this and haven’t gotten sick yet, it’s better to be safe than to take the risk and become terribly ill or lose your life to foodborne illness.
As the voice of people affected by foodborne illness, we collaborate with partners in academia, the food industry, and government to prevent foodborne illness. We advocate for effective food safety policy and facilitate culture change to increase food safety.