If you want to know how long can yogurt sit out, that means probably you want to buy some yogurt and eat it for a long time or want to keep safe your already extra-bought yogurt.
You’re at work, and you remember that you need to bring a snack for later. You rummage through your pantry and refrigerator and realize that you don’t have anything that is easy to eat on the go.
After some consideration, you decide on yogurt. However, when you go to get your yogurt out of the fridge, you see that it has been open for a while and there is mold growing on it.
Do you throw it away or is it still safe to eat? In this blog post, we will explore how long can yogurt sit out before it becomes unsafe to eat.
We will also cover some tips for keeping your yogurt fresh longer. So, keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
What is yogurt sit out?
The “sit out” rule is a food safety guideline that states that yogurt (and other perishable foods) should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
After two hours at room temperature, bacteria can start to grow on the yogurt and make it unsafe to eat.
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How long can yogurt sit out opened & unopened at room temperature?
The safety of leaving yogurt at room temperature depends on whether it is opened or unopened.
- Unopened yogurt: Unopened yogurt can generally sit at room temperature (around 70°F or 21°C) for a short period, typically 2 to 4 hours, without any major safety concerns. However, it is best to consume unopened yogurt before its expiration date to ensure its quality and freshness.
- Opened yogurt: Once yogurt is opened, it becomes more susceptible to bacterial growth, especially if left at room temperature. You should not leave opened yogurt out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in dairy products, and consuming yogurt that has been left at room temperature for too long can lead to foodborne illnesses.
To ensure the safety and quality of yogurt, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C) after opening.
Refrigeration slows down the growth of harmful bacteria, helping to keep the yogurt safe for consumption for an extended period.
Remember, if you’re in doubt about the safety of the yogurt, it’s better to discard it to avoid any potential health risks.
Always use your senses (look, smell, and taste) to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming yogurt.
If it looks or smells off, or has an unusual texture or taste, it’s best to throw it away.
Some FAQs about yogurt sit out:
At 50°C (122°F), the temperature is much higher than room temperature, which significantly accelerates bacterial growth and food spoilage.
Leaving yogurt at such a high temperature is not safe, and it can become unsafe to consume in a relatively short period.
Yogurt should not be left at 50°C for more than 2 hours. Bacteria will multiply rapidly at this temperature, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Consuming yogurt that has been left at 50°C for an extended period can lead to health problems.
Leaving yogurt at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) is not safe and can lead to rapid bacterial growth and food spoilage.
At this high temperature, harmful bacteria can multiply at an alarming rate, making the yogurt unsafe to consume in a short period.
Yogurt should not be left at 60 degrees Celsius for more than 1 hour.
After this time, the risk of foodborne illnesses becomes significant, and consuming yogurt that has been exposed to such high temperatures could lead to health problems.
Leaving yogurt at 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) is extremely unsafe and should be avoided.
At this high temperature, harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly, leading to a high risk of foodborne illnesses and spoilage.
Yogurt should not be left at 70 degrees Celsius for any amount of time. Even a short exposure to such a high temperature can make the yogurt unsafe to consume.
Opened yogurt will last for about two weeks in the fridge. However, after two weeks, the yogurt may start to spoil and it will no longer be safe to eat.
No, it is not safe to eat yogurt that has been left out at room temperature overnight.
Consuming yogurt that has been left out for an extended period can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses due to bacterial growth. It’s best to discard yogurt that has been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours to ensure food safety.
Unopened yogurt will last for about two weeks in the fridge. However, after two weeks, the yogurt may start to spoil and it will no longer be safe to eat.
It is not advisable to eat expired yogurt as it can cause food poisoning.
How long can greek yogurt sit out?
As we mentioned, most types of yogurt will start to spoil after they have been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours. This is because the warm conditions cause bacteria to grow more quickly.
Greek yogurt is a bit more resistant to spoiling than other types of yogurt, due to its higher protein content. However, it is still best to consume Greek yogurt within two hours of taking it out of the fridge.
If you do happen to eat Greek yogurt that has been sitting out for too long, watch for signs of food poisoning such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to consult with a doctor.
Read in Depth: What is Greek Yogurt? – Its Origin, Recipes, Benefits, Risks & All.
Tips for keeping your yogurt fresh longer
To keep your yogurt fresh for a longer period, follow these tips:
- Store in the refrigerator: Always store yogurt in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C). Cold temperatures slow down the growth of bacteria and help preserve the freshness of the yogurt.
- Check the expiration date: Purchase yogurt with a long shelf life and check the expiration date before buying. Opt for products with later dates to give you more time to consume them.
- Keep it sealed: If the yogurt comes in a resealable container, make sure to tightly seal it after each use. If the original packaging doesn’t have a resealable lid, consider transferring the yogurt to an airtight container.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations: Minimize temperature fluctuations by keeping the yogurt in the main section of the refrigerator, away from the door where temperatures can vary.
- Don’t leave it out: Avoid leaving yogurt at room temperature for extended periods, especially after it has been opened. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at higher temperatures, leading to spoilage and potential health risks.
- Use clean utensils: Always use clean spoons or utensils to scoop out the yogurt to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don’t mix old and new yogurt: If you have leftover yogurt in a container, avoid mixing it with a fresh batch. Instead, finish the old yogurt before starting on a new one to prevent contamination.
- Separate from strong-smelling foods: Keep yogurt away from strong-smelling foods in the refrigerator to prevent it from absorbing unwanted odors.
- Monitor the refrigerator temperature: Make sure your refrigerator is set to the proper temperature (around 40°F or 4°C) to maintain the freshness of all perishable items, including yogurt.
- Buy in smaller quantities: If you find that you don’t consume yogurt quickly enough, consider purchasing smaller containers to reduce the chances of waste.
By following these tips, you can extend the shelf life of your yogurt and enjoy it fresh for a longer time.
Always use your senses to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming yogurt, and if it looks, smells, or tastes off, it’s best to discard it to ensure your safety.
Will I get sick if I eat yogurt that was left out?
Eating yogurt that has been left out at room temperature for an extended period can increase the risk of getting sick.
Yogurt is a dairy product that contains live bacteria cultures, which are beneficial for digestion and gut health.
However, these live cultures can also make yogurt susceptible to bacterial growth if not stored properly.
When yogurt is left at room temperature, it creates an environment where harmful bacteria can thrive, leading to potential foodborne illnesses.
The two most common bacteria associated with spoiled yogurt are Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella.
Staphylococcus aureus can produce toxins that cause food poisoning, resulting in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Salmonella is another common pathogen found in spoiled yogurt, and it can lead to more severe symptoms, such as fever and dehydration.
How many days I can store yogurt in the fridge?
The storage duration of yogurt in the refrigerator depends on various factors, such as the type of yogurt, its packaging, and the specific conditions of your refrigerator. In general, unopened yogurt typically has a longer shelf life than opened yogurt. Here are some general guidelines for storing yogurt in the fridge:
- Unopened yogurt: Unopened yogurt containers, whether it’s regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, can usually be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 weeks past the printed expiration date. Some brands may have longer or shorter shelf lives, so it’s essential to check the expiration date on the packaging.
- Opened yogurt: Once you open a container of yogurt, its shelf life will decrease significantly. On average, you can store opened yogurt in the refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days. However, this can vary depending on the yogurt’s freshness when opened and how well it was resealed after use.
How to store yogurt properly? step by step
Storing yogurt properly is crucial to maintain its freshness, quality, and safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to store yogurt correctly:
- Step 1: Check the expiration date – Before purchasing yogurt, check the expiration date on the packaging. Choose yogurt with a later date to ensure it stays fresh for a more extended period.
- Step 2: Keep it refrigerated at all times – As soon as you bring the yogurt home from the store, place it in the refrigerator immediately. Make sure the refrigerator temperature is set at or below 40°F (4°C) to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Step 3: Store yogurt away from the refrigerator door – The temperature in the refrigerator door fluctuates more than the main compartment due to frequent opening and closing. To maintain a consistent temperature, store yogurt in the main part of the refrigerator.
- Step 4: Avoid exposure to air – Air exposure can cause the yogurt to dry out and affect its taste and texture. Always reseal the container tightly after each use to prevent air from entering.
- Step 5: Use clean utensils – When scooping out yogurt from the container, use clean utensils to prevent cross-contamination. Avoid using your fingers or utensils that have come into contact with other food.
- Step 6: Don’t mix different yogurts in the same container – If you want to add toppings or mix-ins to your yogurt, do so in a separate bowl instead of the original yogurt container. Mixing different yogurts can affect their flavors and textures.
- Step 7: Store in the original container – Keeping yogurt in its original container helps protect it from external odors and flavors that might be present in the refrigerator. If you’ve transferred the yogurt to another container, make sure it’s airtight and well-sealed.
- Step 8: Monitor the storage duration – Pay attention to the “use-by” or “best before” date on the yogurt packaging. For unopened yogurt, consume it before or on the specified date. For opened yogurt, try to finish it within 5 to 7 days to ensure its freshness.
- Step 9: Check for signs of spoilage – Before consuming yogurt, inspect it for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, mold growth, or unusual texture. If you notice any of these signs, discard the yogurt immediately.
By following these steps, you can store yogurt properly and enjoy its taste and nutritional benefits for a longer period while minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
How to tell if yogurt is spoiled?
You can determine if yogurt is spoiled by checking for several signs that indicate it has gone bad.
Spoiled yogurt may not be safe to consume and can cause foodborne illnesses if ingested. Here are some indicators to look for:
- Sour or Off Odor: Fresh yogurt has a mild, tangy smell. If the yogurt smells unusually sour, pungent, or has an off odor, it is likely spoiled.
- Mold: Visible mold growth on the surface of the yogurt is a clear sign of spoilage. Mold can be fuzzy or discolored, and consuming yogurt with mold can be harmful to your health.
- Separated or Curdled Texture: If the yogurt appears to be excessively watery or has curdled into lumps, it has likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
- Unusual Appearance: Inspect the color and consistency of the yogurt. Any discoloration, such as a change in color from white to yellow or grey, is a warning sign.
- Expired Date: Check the “use-by” or “best before” date on the yogurt packaging. If the yogurt is past its expiration date, it may not be safe to eat.
- Unpleasant Taste: Taste a small amount of the yogurt; if it tastes sour, bitter, or has an unusual flavor, it is probably spoiled.
- Bloating or Swelling: If the yogurt container appears to be bloated or swollen, it could be a sign of bacterial activity, indicating spoilage.
It’s important to note that some separation or liquid at the top of the yogurt container can be normal, especially for natural or Greek yogurt.
This liquid is called whey and is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. To determine if the separation is normal or if the yogurt has spoiled, give the container a gentle shake.
If the consistency appears uniform after shaking, it is likely safe to consume.
When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard any yogurt that shows signs of spoilage.
Consuming spoiled yogurt can lead to food poisoning and other gastrointestinal issues. Always practice proper food safety by storing yogurt in the refrigerator, checking the expiration date, and inspecting it before eating.
How much dangerous to eat spoiled yogurt?
Eating spoiled yogurt can be dangerous and potentially harmful to your health.
Spoiled yogurt is more likely to contain harmful bacteria or toxins, which can cause foodborne illnesses.
The severity of the illness can vary depending on the type of bacteria present and the overall health of the person consuming the spoiled yogurt.
The most common bacteria associated with spoiled yogurt include Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
These bacteria can cause a range of food poisoning symptoms, including:
- Stomach cramps
In severe cases, food poisoning from spoiled yogurt can lead to complications, especially in vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
So, how long can yogurt sit out? Yogurt can sit out for up to two hours before it starts to spoil.
However, if you’re going to be away from home for more than two hours, be sure to pack your yogurt in a cooler with ice packs.
And if you have any leftover yogurt, be sure to store it in the fridge as soon as possible. By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure that your yogurt stays fresh and safe to eat.