since y'all were so helpful before....

Joined Aug 27, 2018
i told my sister i would ask y'all her question..... about....wait for safety!! :)
my fridge drama got her questioning something....crock pots.
she is wondering, about the whole 40- 140 degrees as it relates to a crock pot.
food safety says that raw food should not stay between 40-140 for more than 2 hours.
so does a crockpot heat a roast up to over 140 within 2 hours? if not, why is that safe?
cause we do it all the time :)
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Yes, it's safe. The FSIS recommends starting your slow cooker always on high, then set it to low if necessary:

Others recommend your preheat the slow cooker for faster initial heating:

But remember that food safety isn't a binary domain where food is either safe or unsafe. It's more of a statistical domain with bacteria growing at a slow or fast pace giving your more or less chances of getting sick.
Joined Mar 1, 2017
It takes a crock pot a few hours to reach simmer temp, which is just short of the boiling point. However, most crock pots will exceed the 140'f mark within a couple of hours.

While crock pots may take a bit longer to heat up through the temperature danger zone, they spend a very long time between 180'f and 280'f, which is more than enough to kill off any bacteria.

Here are some tips to help mitigate any risk when using a crock pot.

- Always use good food safety practices. Clean hands, clean utensils and clean working area;
- Always preheat your cooker. Add liquids that are already hot whenever possible. Cook the ingredients on high for the first hour or two so the food spends as little time as possible in the temperature danger zone, especially when cooking meat and poultry;
- Do not thaw proteins in the cooker;
- Do not cook food on the warm setting. That setting is only designed to keep food hot that is already cooked;
- Do not fiddle with the lid. Lifting the lid causes drops in temperature that take quite a bit of time to recover.

Good luck. :)
Joined May 30, 2015
I've always been surprised more people don't die from bean soups cooked in crock pots. Phytohaemagglutin is an undigestible protein found in beans. The body can't break it down, and it can cause kidney failure in very small doses (as few as 5-10 raw beans). It's not usually fatal in the immediate sense, but it can cause permanent, severe kidney damage and result in hospitalization/a permanent need for dialysis. Soaking and simmering softens the beans, so they might seem "cooked", but the protein isn't broken down just because the beans get soft. It has to be broken down by cooking for at least 10 minutes by heat over 212F. A lot of slow cookers will only heat the bean soup to around 175F, high enough to kill bacteria and make the beans soft, but not high enough to break down the protein.
Joined Mar 1, 2017
capricciosa capricciosa is 100% correct and makes a great point.

All beans contain varying levels of this toxin. However, red kidney beans have the highest levels of all. White kidney beans (cannellini) beans are a distant second.

The typical stove top cooking process is usually hot enough to neutralize this toxin which is why illnesses caused by this toxin are not very common.

But, crock pots are different. Because crock pots use such low temperatures, they can literally increase the levels of this toxin to dangerous, even lethal, proportions especially when red kidney beans are involved. Therefore, all beans, especially red kidney beans, must be boiled at a minimum of 212'f (100'C) for 10-15 minutes before going into the crock pot.
Joined Oct 9, 2008
One of these days I'm going to write an essay about why home cooks should stop worrying about obeying every restriction by which professionals are bound. Fundamentally, pros are limited in ways that are only remotely sane within the assumption that everyone is incompetent, and every diner is immuno-challenged. If you're a home cook, you have a LOT more leeway.

A friend of mine once asked me why she couldn't use old stock that had been sitting out for days, if she boiled it for 10-15 minutes at full temperature. "Won't that kill anything nasty living in it?" she asked. "Yes," I replied, "but it will taste nasty."

Point being, a pro could not serve this, taste or no taste, by law. As a home cook, you can serve it -- but you shouldn't, because it's disgusting. Different rules, different reasons.

Yes, a slow-cooker is safe, if you use it reasonably well. And yes, it can produce disgusting results.

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