Finally, I called Ben Chapman, the food safety expert at N.C. State University. He reassured me: The rules I follow are still absolutely correct: Once the stock cooled off, it only had two hours at room temperature before it became toxic stew. It didn’t matter if the lid was on or – as one commenter suggested – if I had strained it and discarded the bones first.The issue, he said, isn’t bacteria. It’s toxins produced by the bacteria. Bacteria are living creatures and like all living creatures, they produce things. Even if you kill them by “boiling them to hell and back,” you can’t remove the toxins their one-celled corpses produce.So why was I not seeing reports on outbreaks associated with tainted turkey broth? It probably happens, Chapman said. But in the foodborne-illness reporting world, an “outbreak” involves multiple people who aren’t related. In other words, if you make yourself and your elderly great-aunt Ethel sick, the world may never know, unless someone dies from it.