Food Safety For Dummies: When in doubt, throw it out

Those on the east coast got to experience the heat wave last week. To cope, I hid at my girlfriend’s apartment with central air. At home, my mom got treated to a 2 day power outage (the kind that cascaded across Jersey for various reasons). Trying to save the fridge food, she kept it stocked with some bags of ice.

It gets nasty after the break.

On Monday, I came home to some tasty looking leftover hamsteak. It’s a “look” good and not a “was good” because in short order I couldn’t stop burping for 5 hours, was curled into a ball of gastric pain, and throwing up. This is a helpful reminder that It’s not worth trying to save your fridge stuff if your power is out for more than a short time, especially if it’s topping 90 degrees outside.

The FDA’s safe food temperature handling guide says that 40 degrees is the safe temperature for refrigerated items. If you think about it, 40 is pretty cold to maintain during a 90+ heated day even with ice inside keeping it cool and opening it as little as possible. The FDA says that food that strays out of the “safety” temperature of 40 degrees for just an hour or two should be chucked due to possible bacterial growth.

Don’t be like my mom. When in doubt, throw it out.

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