I received a fully cooked 13 pound pit ham from work at 12 noon. It was refrigerated when I got it. I made it home 4 hours later after running errands and it was 38 degrees outside and the ham was in the car the whole time. I forgot to put the ham in the refrigerator and left it still in the bag and box on the floor in the kitchen. It was 10 pm before I remembered about it and I immediately put it in the refrigerator. Is it still safe to eat?

  • The item that you're claiming is a duplicate doesn't touch on the fact that his is a ham ... ie, heavily salted. It may not have been a full cure for preservation's sake (eg, a country ham), but the salt will reduce the chance of microbes breeding.
    – Joe
    Dec 18, 2014 at 17:13
  • "it was 38 degrees outside and the ham was in the car the whole time" - what was the temperature in the car? 38 degrees is not in the danger zone, but the inside of your car was probably warmer unless you're talking about the back of a pickup truck. Also, what was the temperature inside your house?
    – Random832
    Dec 18, 2014 at 19:48
  • @Joe: Can I re-cook a ham that was left out overnight? Salt-curing might extend the lifetime, but it's nearly impossible to predict by how much, so there isn't really any other answer or even a rule of thumb we can give. The only important variable that we can actually measure is how long it was in the danger zone, and it's up to the OP to decide if he wants to chance it anyway.
    – Aaronut
    Dec 21, 2014 at 18:23
  • @Aaronut : yes, that's a much better duplicate than the one it's marked as ... although we don't know what temperature the person's house was.
    – Joe
    Dec 22, 2014 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


Welcome to Seasoned Advice!

Chances are, yes it's probably fine, but I would suggest you take some precautions.

Please consider how long your ham may have been in the temperature "danger zone".

This post is a superb explanation of what this means and what it entails:


If in doubt, play it safe. Again, from my experience, it likely is fine, but don't take any chances if you have any reason to think it is not.

  • Yes it's still vacuum sealed. It still felt cold when I took it out of the box and put it in the frig. I'm just worried because my family will be eating this for Christmas.
    – Tommy
    Dec 18, 2014 at 4:22
  • Ok. I've worked in multiple different meat shops selling hams like these. It should be fine, but like I said, give it a smell test before you prepare it, just to be safe.
    – Phrancis
    Dec 18, 2014 at 4:23
  • 2
    While I agree that the ham is probably OK, I really don't like even mentioning the sniff test in cases like this. This ham isn't going to stink just because it's deadly. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/45054/… That it smells OK is meaningless as an indication of safety. The fact is that we can't know. That I'd eat it doesn't mean I'd serve it to your kids.
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 18, 2014 at 4:28
  • @Jolenealaska I'll be happy to edit or delete, if you feel my answer is of poor quality
    – Phrancis
    Dec 18, 2014 at 4:31
  • @Phrancis That is your call. Read the link I posted and other similar questions under the Food Safety tag, especially: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34670/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 18, 2014 at 4:35

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