I left a pan from cooking chicken with garlic powder in the fridge for a week. There are lumps of chicken fat that I assume have garlic powder in them. Is this like garlic butter or garlic in oil and is it safe to put the fat in the compost or touch it? I'm not going to eat it but still worried about botulism going in the sink or going in the compost.

Is that it's a week in the fridge and not more mean it's safe and/or that it's garlic powder and not fresh garlic? (I've read both four days and seven days are the limits to storing garlic in oil in the fridge). Does cooking it change things? (350 degrees F for 45 minutes). I ate the last piece of chicken at five days old and am fine but scared of the fat. I've looked at several questions similar to this but still a bit confused. I don't know if this is nothing or not. The pan is currently in the freezer. Thanks!

dry garlic in oil --> botulism risk?

How long is garlic butter safe, and why is it not a botulism risk like garlic in oil?

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    Can someone who considers themself an expert on botulism please comment on the side issue regarding the danger/safety in merely touching the (potential) botulism colony, or putting it into the environment (sink or compost). It seems to me, botulism is an organism which lives in the world regardless of what we do. If people could be poisoned just by touching some of those bacteria (or whatever they are), wouldn't we have random unpredictable botulism poisoning all over the place?
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 4:48
  • 3
    You shouldn't be putting fat down the sink anyway, and in most places it's ill-advised or even illegal to compost meat products in an uncontolled manner.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 8:34
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    Are you talking about commercially produced garlic powder...like what you would find in a small container in the spice rack in a grocery store?
    – moscafj
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 12:33
  • Yes, regular garlic powder from the spice section.
    – padma
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


This site suggests that when commercial garlic powder is made it is heated to a temperature of 150 to 160 degrees Celsius, before it is then dehydrated and ground. C. Botulinum spores are killed by heating to at least 120 degrees Celcius, and holding for at least 30 minutes. It would seem to me that commercial producers of garlic powder would certainly want to take care of this potential hazard. If you were using commercially made garlic powder, the chances that any C. Botulinum spores were present when you started are pretty slim.

Of course, if you made your own garlic powder, the risk is higher. Also, keep in mind refrigeration, does not eliminate risk, but slows the growth of bacteria dramatically.


Any consumption of salmonella or botulism has to have enough bulk of the bacteria that it will survive in your system and continue to make toxins to sicken you.

Scrape the fat, put it in the trash. Wash your hands and wash and dry the pan. If you compost at home, you can throw the fat in the compost. Animal products in compost do attract more animals and vermin, so be advised. As a commenter said, it is not OK to put animal products in community composting stream.

Cleaning counters and sinks regularly is also important, and the refrigerator shelf.

The botulism is not some seething angry mass ready to jump out and get you. Dispose of the stuff carefully and clean up. You will be OK if you follow this guideline.

  • Thank you. Where I live it's okay to put animal fat in the community composting but I know it's different in other places. It's only about 1/2 tsp of fat anyway.
    – padma
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 20:31

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