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I bought a package of Appleton Farms, hardwood smoked, sugar cured, sliced bacon about 32 hours ago & forgot to put it in the refrigerator. The ingredients state "cured with": water, salt, sugar,sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrate. The package is still sealed. Do you think it is safe to eat?

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2 Answers

Does the package say it needs to be kept refrigerated? Did it come from refrigerated storage at the store? If either of these is true, then you should toss it.

Bacon CAN be heavily smoked and cured for room-temperature storage, but most grocery-store bacon is not this kind. Due to the nitrates/nitrates and smoking process, normal bacon should be safe at room temperature for longer than the 2 hours we give uncured meats, but 32 hours is simply WAY TOO LONG.

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If the package is sealed I would go for it! I doubt there's been any serious bacterial growth with all the preservatives. Besides, you still have to cook it (well), which would kill any bacteria (supposing there are any). That said, the taste/quality might be modified, but nothing to be concerned about (not harmful). If it doesn't taste good, toss it.

[DISCLAIMER: I'm a Biologist and consider myself to know quite a lot about bugs. I would eat it, but do so under your own responsibility.]

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Other threads on here have commented that cooking meats does not always kill the toxins emitted by the bacteria growth while at room temperature, even though the bacteria itself does get killed from cooking. Is bacon somehow different in this regard? –  Jessica Brown Jul 7 '12 at 20:39
Indeed, the claim that you can make it safe by cooking is completely false, and I'm disappointed to see someone claiming to know a lot about bacteria espousing it. See for example this question. –  Jefromi Feb 19 at 23:24
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