So I know that the general rules is that pathogen prone foods such as chicken shouldn't be consumed after 2 hours at room temperature. Cooking meat such as chicken is necesary as it kills the potentially harmful bacteria in th raw meat. What I do t understand is, if the cooking process kills the harmful bacteria, why would it still be not recommended to cook and eat chicken left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours? Would the process of cooking not still be able to kill the increased amount of bacteria?

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    $\begingroup$ There are (at least) two questions here, do you want to pick one and ask the other(s) in a separate thread. Remember, show your research when posting. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Heat-stable toxins. $\endgroup$
    – MikeyC
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


It would kill the bacteria, but it wouldn't break down the toxic substances that the bacteria produced while they were digesting the chicken.

According to the WHO, the chicken must be maintained at 85⁰C for at least 5 minutes, so it is possible to cook it, but there's no real way to know for sure that all the toxins have been destroyed without reaching temperatures that outright destroys the chicken.

Since there's no way to perfectly know whether the chicken has been cooked long enough to destroy the toxins, without turning it to ash, it's better to avoid the risk in the first place, since a small amount remaining could lead to unpleasantness, and the temperatures would overcook the chicken (Poultry is considered cooked when its interior temperature reaches 74⁰C).


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