I took a piece of beef steak out of the freezer yesterday at 4pm. I left it on the windowsill until 11am this morning. It stayed pretty chilled because the temperature here is below freezing, but it probably got above fridge temperatures. I then put it in the fridge before I cooked it tonight at 6pm and ate it. Will I definitely get sick?

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    Will you DEFINITELY get sick? no. Too many variables to tell you. Is that safe? NO. it worth the risk? NO This is not really a useful question. In the future, look at safer ways to defrost meat. Search or post a question if you don't know how. – talon8 Nov 25 '15 at 19:49
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    Assuming you will live for another 60 years, your chances of getting sick are pretty much 100%, before you die. – Ming Nov 26 '15 at 0:59
  • Can you let us know whether you did get sick in let's say... 2 days??? >:-) – Fabby Nov 26 '15 at 1:27
  • Maybe rephrase to "what to do to create reliable poison from a given cut of meat"? ;) – rackandboneman Nov 26 '15 at 9:22
  • I agree with previous answers/comments about how this is not a safe practice. One other thing I would note is that different types of food poisoning can take different amounts of time to actually cause illness, which is probably a reason people don't realize which "unsafe" practice caused the illness (if any). In most cases, you'll probably get sick within a couple days, but there are some foodborne bacteria that could take a week (or even more) to make you sick. Outside of testing the meat you ate and taking a culture when/if you get sick, it's hard to know when there's a connection. – Athanasius Nov 26 '15 at 15:59

Of course there's no guaranty that you will get sick - there almost never is - this doesn't mean you should ignore food safety.

There are three large factors that influence how "safe" your meat is:

  • How much harmfull microorganisms were in your meat to begin with?
  • How much did these microorganisms multiply and more importantly metabolize?
  • How "healthy" are you? / What amount of toxin/microorganisms can your body handle?

You only will get "food poisoning" when you have ingested a sufficient amount of microorganisms / poisons produced by microorganisms to overhelm your own immune system.

So why do we still clamour about food safety?

Because you can't controll the factors involved. In a normal kitchen environment you have no way of knowing how "contaminated" your food is, or how much your system can handle.

Stay on the safe side, assume the worst, and throw out food which might not be safe to eat.

On a side note. Extreme temperatures (e.g. freezing / cooking) do not "sanitize" food.


You most likely won't get sick if the temperature was below freezing close to your windowsill. However, it's generally safer to thaw and consume your meat in a reasonable time frame, and not leave meat out for extended amounts of time. If you cooked your meat to temperature, you're also reducing the amount of bacteria that may have formed on the steak.

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    There is no way in the average house even with crappy windows that temps even near the window are cold enough to move food out of the danger zone. Also cooking food doesn't save spoiled meat. – talon8 Nov 25 '15 at 20:26

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