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I put chicken breasts and a bunch of salsa into a slow cooker to be cooked while I slept. I forgot to turn it on. When I woke up I noticed and put it back in the fridge.

I plan to cook it tonight (and hopefully not forget to turn it on).

Is this a bad idea?

I will note that the salsa appeared to insulate the chicken because it was still cool to the touch (not COLD though) when I discovered it in the morning.

Total time out of fridge would be about 9 hours.

EDIT: This is not a duplicate of the suggested question because I had a thought that it might be ok due to the chicken being slightly insulated and still cool. I have realized it is still not safe from the answers.

marked as duplicate by mfg, moscafj, Ward, Cascabel Jan 11 '17 at 4:44

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  • 1
    how long was the chicken in the crock pot before you returned it to the refrigerator? – moscafj Jan 10 '17 at 23:06
  • @moscafj About 9 hours. Please note though that after 9 hours the chicken was still cool to the touch, not room temperature. – James Wierzba Jan 10 '17 at 23:30
  • 2
    Way too long in the danger zone. Chuck it! – moscafj Jan 10 '17 at 23:39
  • 1
    This is a bad idea. Here's why – mfg Jan 11 '17 at 0:23
  • 3
    Duplicate does not mean verbatim, it means the answers to one clearly answer the other, with maybe a small hint about how to apply them. All you have to do to apply the general one here is understand that 9 hours at room temperature in a slow cooker ending up cool to the touch (well over 40F) means too long above 40F. So the general question does apply, and it's well within what we consider duplicates here. – Cascabel Jan 11 '17 at 5:03

Without knowing for sure that the temp didn't stray into the danger zone, I wouldn't eat it. Within 9 hours I think it is very likely that the chicken went from refrigerator temperature to danger temperature.

40 degrees F is the start of the danger zone. See:


I doubt the human finger is calibrated finely enough to reliably measure this temp with high enough confidence to avoid the risk of food poisoninng.

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