Pizza is a staple weekend dish in many homes across America. However, sometimes it gets left out of the refrigerator for longer than it should. Depending on the environment and time period, leftover pizza is okay to leave out. However, it is important that you keep certain safety issues in mind. You may believe that as long as the pizza remains in the box, then it is safe. This is somewhat correct. Pizza is safe from some insects if it is stored in the pizza box. However, it is the bacteria that you cannot see that may harm the pizza the most. There are many determining factors in this equation. Some of the factors are time periods and the room temperature.
The amount of time that a pizza has been sitting out without refrigeration can determine whether or not it should be consumed or discarded. If pizza has been sitting out for about an hour then it should be safe to eat. Some pizzas have small amounts of bacteria, but are not really dangerous to humans. However, bacteria tend to grow on food items of this nature the longer the food sits out, so be careful when consuming leftover pizza that fits into this category. If you really have to ask yourself or others if the pizza has been sitting out, then it is probably best that you do not eat it. You do not want to take the chance of making yourself sick. Next time just make sure that you are around when the pizza is delivered or cooked, if possible.
It is important to remember a few key facts when trying to determine whether or not your pizza is safe to eat. Room temperature is a a very important factor. If the pizza is sitting out in an environment that is as cool or cooler than a refrigerator than it is considered safe to eat. However, most environments are not usually this cool--yet there are some exceptions.
On the other hand, one way to make sure that your pizza remains warm (therefore safe to eat) is to place it in the oven or warming station on the warming feature, if applicable. If you can’t or just don’t want to do this, then just discard the pizza so that it doesn’t cause you any health problems.
The United States Department of Agriculture states that if pizza is left out overnight then it is not safe to eat because it is perishable. Generally speaking, pizza should not be left out for more than two hours without proper refrigeration. If it is left out for more than two hours than it is supposed to be discarded to avoid any health issues. Remember, to be on the safe side just don't leave the pizza out longer than the two hour period.