Leaving out food on the table and not refrigerating it for a few hours is absolutely fine in particular cases. However, is the same thing going to work out for pizzas? As a matter of general observation and a common practice in college, pizza, if left out for a couple of hours without refrigerating, seems to be fine in most of the cases. But is it really true?
How Long Can Pizza Sit Out?
The answer is no longer than two hours. Here is what the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has to say about it: pizza is a perishable food, and remains no safer to consume if left overnight unrefrigerated. The rule goes same for pizzas without meat too. Hence, being a vegetarian won't help your pizza survive overnight without refrigeration.
So if it's not the meat, then what makes it necessary to place the pizza in the fridge? Well, the answer is 'cheese.' Cheese makes a favorable ground for food borne bacteria to flourish; hence, it must be stored in cold temperatures.
How long can pizza sit out in your room?
Room temperature can hold up the hygiene of your pizza for up to one or two hours. Hence, if you accidently left this food out in the room for two hours, you do not have to throw it away because it remains edible. According to USDA, even in temperatures as hot as those above 90 degrees F, pizza can survive in room temperature for up to one to two hours. However, when it’s beyond this time frame, it’s better that you do not eat the leftover pizza any more.
What If I Put It in the Fridge?
According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as USDA, storing pizza in a fridge at temperatures below 40 degrees F can preserve its viability for up to three to four days. This pizza which stayed in the fridge for four days will, however, add to your risk of developing food borne illnesses without letting you fall sick.
The FDA says that pizza stored in a freezer is safe to consume for up to two months.
Others’ Experience and Opinion on This Issue
“Is it safe to refrigerate an overnight left out pizza?
A pizza that had received no cool temperatures of the refrigerator for a whole night is not worth storing back or eating. One would be lucky not getting sick after eating that left out food. Hence, it is always advised to throw away any overnight unrefrigerated food.”
“If the pizza has started to emit foul smell of rotten cheese, vegetables or meat, it is better not to take a single bit and throw it right away. You would never prefer a bloating aching stomach over the satisfaction of your taste buds.”
“Generally, people never complain of developing any dangerous symptoms after consuming leftover pizzas in room temperatures for more than two hours or so. It is not that eating such unpreserved food is not going to make you ill. However, it is always advised to eat less unhygienic stuff so that your gut contains less risks of developing any disease. Besides 'how long can pizza sit out', you also need to focus upon how long can you keep your inners healthy without compromising on your gut health for the sake of some mesmerizing left out pizza flavor.”