Have you ever discovered after your first cup of coffee in the morning that you left the pot roast or a casserole on the countertop overnight? What do you do with perishable food that has accidently been left out overnight?
The answer is to throw it out. Perishable foods like pot roasts or casseroles must be cooled rapidly after cooking, and then kept cold to be safe. With warm temperatures from 40 to 140 degrees, bacteria can multiply rapidly in food. In fact, once food is left in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, the guideline for safety is to discard the food. This may be hard to do, but some bacteria that cause food-borne illness produce toxins that will not be affected by re-heating the food. When in doubt, throw it out.