Ham Storage

Asked February 15, 2019, 6:59 PM EST

In December I bought a 20 pound spiral-cut ham, and when I got home the power was out, so I left it in the trunk of my car overnight. The car was in a metal, three-sided garage. The temperature got down to 48 degrees. I put the ham in the fridge the next morning. Is it OK to use, or should I toss it? Barbara

Lane County Oregon food safety

1 Response

I wish that you could have taken the temperature of the ham. If it was still close to 40-45 degrees or below we would know that it was safe. Was the temperature outside 48 or the garage temperature 48. .

You ham is cured but probably either completely cooked or partially cooked so still considered a perishable product. The rule is that if it is in the danger zone (40-140 degrees F) for more than 3 hours it could be potentially harmful. However that ham was probably refrigerated at below 40 when you bought it and in the cold car trunk because of the temperature outside, so that is also a variable.

If you are not in the at risk group I would cook it to 165 degrees F before eating. You might not want to serve it to anyone with compromised immune system, infants and small children, pregnant women or the elderly.

Next time put your perishables in an ice chest with some ice if the electricity goes out.

Thanks for using Ask an Expert

Nellie Oehler