How Long Can Cooked Meat Safely Remain Out of the Refrigerator?

How Long Can Cooked Meat Safely Remain Out of the Refrigerator?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooked meat becomes unsafe to eat after 2 hours at room temperature. To keep food safe to eat, it is recommended that you either eat, freeze or refrigerate the food before 2 hours have passed.

Restaurant cooks know that cooked foods must be held at a temperature higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit or colder than 40 degrees to keep them safe to eat. If a cooked meat has been left out to cool, it should be reheated to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees to kill any bacteria that may have had a chance to form.

To refrigerate cooked meat, place it in a covered shallow container and refrigerate within 2 hours.