The Food and Drug Administration recommends that meat left out at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded. Raw meat left out for this amount of time is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make people very sick.
While a refrigerator set to 40 degrees does slow down bacteria growth significantly, it does not stop it altogether. Most raw meats may be refrigerated for up to three or four days, while cooked meat, poultry and seafood may also be stored in the refrigerator for the same amount of time. While meats consumed within these periods are safe, they do lessen in quality with each passing day.