How Long Can You Leave Meat Out Before It Spoils?

Cultura RM/Sian Kennedy/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

Meat can spoil within an hour when left out in temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and within two hours at lower temperatures. Refrigeration slows the growth of bacteria that cause food poisoning and other diseases.

Thawing and marinating meat outside the refrigerator can hasten spoilage, and one cannot determine whether meat is safe to eat by its smell or its appearance. To properly chill meat and other perishable foods, the temperature inside a refrigerator should be between 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and there should be adequate space between products to allow air to circulate. Uncooked fish, poultry and ground meat last one to two days, while raw steak and chops last up to four days. Freezing meat at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below keeps it safe to use for two months to a year depending on the type of meat.