Food Spoilage Question

Decorating By tootie0809 Updated 29 Aug 2010 , 1:49am by tokazodo

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 8:47pm
post #1 of 43

I just checked my fridge internal thermometer and it showed above the "food safe" zone. The temp is about 51-52 degrees. I just bought over $115.00 of cream cheese and put it in that fridge last night. I poked at a couple of the cream cheese packages and they are definitely softer than they should be, so the fridge has been above the normal zone for a while. Is there a way to know if they've gone bad already. I'm just sick if I have to go replace all that cream cheese and lose all that money I just spent last night. Stupid fridge!

42 replies
indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 8:58pm
post #2 of 43

51 degrees????? icon_surprised.gif

My health dept guidelines required that my comm'l refrigerator be between 33 and 41 degrees. I immeidately noticed, when I moved into the shop, how much longer my foods stayed "good" in the shop 'frig than they ever did in a home 'frig.

I have said for a long time .... a home refrigerator is not designed to be "food safe". Egg racks on the upper shelf on the door (eggs cannot be stored ABOVE foods in case they crack and leak onto the foods below and contaminate them); veggie bins on the bottom of the frig (fresh veggies cannot be stored BELOW foods that will leak and contaminate them); etc.

I would crack the temp on that puppy down! 51 degrees is actually the temp in which food bacteria will grow.

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:02pm
post #3 of 43

People leave cream cheese out at room temp for several hours to get soft...so if you just bought the cream cheese and its just been overnight, as long as the fridge is back to cold pretty soon, you should not have to throw it out.

It might not have the shelf life (for instance, once you soften cream cheese, you might not necessarily want to save it for weeks in the fridge) but it will be fine to make your desserts or icing or whatever as long as the fridge is cold from here on out.

Good luck!

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:04pm
post #4 of 43

Something has happened to it very recently because I've always got the internal thermometer right there when I open the door and it's always been in the food safe zone of under 41 degrees. I just now turned the temp on it to the very coldest and will wait a few hours to see if it goes down, but I guess it's probably not a good idea to just hope the cream cheese hasn't already spoiled. When I put them in last night (early evening) they temperature was fine. Now it's not, so I have no idea how long they've been sitting there at 50-52 degrees. Guess I better not chance it and toss them all. ****sigh*****

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:09pm
post #5 of 43

Hmm I looked it up and it can sit at room temp for two hours. I didn't realize it was that touchy.

That really stinks though, for you....

cathyscakes Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:09pm
post #6 of 43

I think it should be fine, you have no idea how long they were above the range, it might of only been for a few hours, people leave cream cheese out all of the time. Was the cream cheese cool to the touch, I think it would be o.k. as long as there is no mold, and they felt cool, I'd use it.

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:16pm
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

51 degrees????? icon_surprised.gif

My health dept guidelines required that my comm'l refrigerator be between 33 and 41 degrees. I immeidately noticed, when I moved into the shop, how much longer my foods stayed "good" in the shop 'frig than they ever did in a home 'frig.

I have said for a long time .... a home refrigerator is not designed to be "food safe". Egg racks on the upper shelf on the door (eggs cannot be stored ABOVE foods in case they crack and leak onto the foods below and contaminate them); veggie bins on the bottom of the frig (fresh veggies cannot be stored BELOW foods that will leak and contaminate them); etc.

I would crack the temp on that puppy down! 51 degrees is actually the temp in which food bacteria will grow.




I keep my fridges very cold...but I agree with you about the eggs and veggies thing....pretty crazy eh?

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:17pm
post #8 of 43

I just looked up the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website and under the "how to store" faq, they say:
"How to Store PHILADELPHIA Block Cream Cheese:
We suggest you store it in the refrigerator. For blocks that have been opened, rewrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freezing is not recommended. "

The "suggest you store it in the refrigerator" is throwing me off. Is it just a suggestion or is it a requirement? Hmmm........

I guess I could go eat a big bite of it and wait until tomorrow to see if I am feeling sick? That's what my husband suggested anyway. I told him he could be the guinea pig, and he said he would gladly do it. Just don't know though. This is for making buttercream for a bunch of wedding cakes and cupcakes the next couple of weeks. I

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:20pm
post #9 of 43

I'd say if you decide to keep it, make the buttercream NOW and then store that...the sugar will help preserve it longer...of course refrigerate the buttercream but still...it would be safer than just storing the cream cheese alone now that its been soft.

indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:32pm
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I keep my fridges very cold...but I agree with you about the eggs and veggies thing....pretty crazy eh?


crazy fer sure! the more I learned about food safety storage, the more I was convinced that every home kitchen should be set up like a commercial kitchen! It actually ticked me off that "someone" decided it was ok for my family to live with 'sub-standard' circumstances, like porous countertops that are just breeding grounds for germs and contamination, refrigerators that dont' have to keep foods in the true food safe temp and kitchen designs that don't lend themselves to proper cleaning.

(I miss my big kitchen sometimes!) icon_cry.gif

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:38pm
post #11 of 43

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have about 10 dozen eggs in that fridge too. It's a fridge dedictated solely to ingredients for my business (have a separate home bakery). Yes, it is a "home use" fridge, however. Since I have a cottage food license, I am not required to have commercial equipment. They do, however, require you to have the internal thermometers so you can see the exact temperature of the fridge for food safety reasons. That's how I know it was above the food safe zone. If I didn't have that thermometer in there, I'd have had no idea it was that warm in there.

Great, so now I get to toss 54 pounds of cream cheese and 10 dozen eggs! Oh, what a lovely day!! Guess I'll be calling the fridge repairman first thing in the morning.

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:42pm
post #12 of 43

The eggs would be safe before the cream cheese....many people keep eggs out for a whole day at room temp.

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:48pm
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

The eggs would be safe before the cream cheese....many people keep eggs out for a whole day at room temp.




The eggs before the cream cheese? Really? Wow, that baffles me for some reason. I always have thought of eggs as so quick to go bad. Wow, I'm learning all sorts of new stuff!

I just checked the fridge. I had turned the temp to the very coldest it will go and put in a different thermometer from one of my other fridges (I have 4 total). The temperature is starting to go down now, but still not back to the safe range. Still doesn't negate the fact that they've all been sitting there at above safe range for who knows how long. Why didn't I get that appliance insurance? LOL!

PiccoloChellie Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:54pm
post #14 of 43

Do you have a probe thermometer (like for meat, etc) that you can jab into one of the bricks & take its internal temperature? At the very least try that before you pitch all 54lbs.
Is it possible your fridge thermometer could be off?

indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:57pm
post #15 of 43

I actually read an article just yesterday on food expiration dates that said most foods are just fine after the expiration date if stored properly. The article said eggs are usually fine 3 to 5 weeks after the expiration date. Flours and other dry products are good up to a year and sometimes two.

Again .... IF STORED PROPERLY.

Have we learned more about properly food storage over recent years, or have we all turned into a bunch of germophobes? icon_confused.gif

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:07pm
post #16 of 43

I'm definitely a germophobe!!! And I'm paranoid about food spoilage as well, so I always throw anything out if there's even the slightest possibility it's gone bad. I guess it's one thing if it's just me, but when it's for my customers, I would rather stay on the overly cautious side of the fence and rather be safe than sorry.

PiccoloChellie Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:09pm
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Have we learned more about properly food storage over recent years, or have we all turned into a bunch of germophobes? icon_confused.gif




Debi, a few years ago I would've answered "germophobes" - good lord, people are paranoid about getting a little dirty! I've been studying cookbooks from pre-1900 recently and you wouldn't believe how people stored perishable food! "Store soup in a cool corner of the kitchen for two or three days." Would anyone today make a pot of soup and leave it on their dining room table for 72 hours?

Buuuuuuut, with yet another massive recall of meat due to e. coli announced Friday, I think quite a bit of the paranoia related to food is justified. It's not so much that the food itself is inherently dangerous; it's more that we're running a higher risk of getting nasty bugs from the processing plants before we have a chance to do anything with it.

indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:23pm
post #18 of 43

PiccoloChellie, it is interesting isn't it? I asked the question in pure curiosity. It's a topic of conversation quite a lot in our house, actually. Have we become more educated? Or more paranoid? Could be a little of both. (Although I will guarantee that I will NOT be buying the special soap dispenser so my dirty hands don't have to touch a germy push-down dispenser on the soap bottle BEFORE I wash them! icon_lol.gif )

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:28pm
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

(Although I will guarantee that I will NOT be buying the special soap dispenser so my dirty hands don't have to touch a germy push-down dispenser on the soap bottle BEFORE I wash them! icon_lol.gif )




Debi, I've seen the ad for that soap dispenser and thought the same thing too.....how dumb! Your hands are already dirty from using the toilet, and now you don't want to get them dirtier by touching a dirty soap dispenser when you are going to wash off the toilet germs? What? Makes no sense, and I feel sorry for people duped into buying something like that.

indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:30pm
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

...and I feel sorry for people duped into buying something like that.


probably the same people who buy the cupcake cake mixes! icon_lol.gif

PiccoloChellie Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:38pm
post #21 of 43

Interesting is an understatement. icon_lol.gif It's one of my pet interests.
Half the icing recipes in the aforementioned cookbooks use raw egg whites whipped with some sugar. No heat, no pasteurization, nothing. Just regular ol' egg whites and sugar!

Then again, 150 years ago people either had their own chickens out back or bought them from a local farmer who did, so the eggs were amazingly fresh. Also, salmonella hadn't yet invaded gallus domesticus so there wasn't much risk of contamination from that particular microbe.

I remember, as a kid, playing in dirt and mud and grime and no one cared as long as I washed my hands before dinner. To further complicate matters, I have a compromised immune system due to a genetic immunodeficiency - I'm super-prone to catching anything going around. Yet somehow I made it through childhood without the need for baths in sanitizer gel and every surface in my Gram's kitchen soaked in bleach!

I think we have become more educated, but that it's led us to paranoia where it may not be otherwise warranted. Yeah, the food thing, the paranoia is warranted for the most part largely because we aren't able to control where most of our food comes from. We don't get our beef from the local cattle ranch; we get it from a massive processing plant where one infected animal contaminates millions of pounds of meat which is then shipped off all over the country. You really have no choice but to be super cautious!

But, jeez....I wish people would let their kids play in the dirt without having a coronary.
Have you seen this sh!+? http://www.mytinyhands.com/
REALLY?!?!??

I wonder sometimes...and this is just me thinking...it seems like peanut/soy/gluten/etc allergies are getting way more prevalent and way more severe in recent years. I wonder sometimes if that might have something to do with kids' immune systems not learning how to behave properly due to the hyper-sanitation that's sprung up lately. Like, their poor immune systems never really learn what's bad and what's not because they don't get the chance.

I dunno. Sorry for rambling there, you just kinda hit on an interesting subject to me. icon_cool.gif

tootie0809 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:44pm
post #22 of 43

PiccoloChellie, this is a very interesting topic, and my hubby and I were talking about it recently. I read somewhere once that people who bit their nails as children have much stronger immune systems because they were constantly exposing their bodies to germs from the things you touch with your hands and get caught under your nails. I can attest that as a kid, I was rarely sick and I have always bit my nails (such a hard habit to break). To this day, I get sick maybe once every year or two. Interesting stuff.

Doug Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:51pm
post #23 of 43

yes -- we HAVE become more paranoid.

and interestingly, more and more properly done scientific studies are coming out that prove you can be TOO clean.

that dirt is actually GOOD for you

that pets and their dander is too

(and on and on)

that children raised in the cleanest environments as babies often end up with the most allergies, asthma and all those other things like that.

and yes, I do believe children are being prevented at an early age from developing good immune systems by being feed over processed commercial baby food.

God forbid!! (he says as sarcastically as he can muster -- ooh, icicles are forming on the eaves!) that a child should just be fed mashed up people food! Or worse yet, mommy chews it up and then gives it to baby to eat and uses her fingers too! or a little taste of peanut butter or any similar mushy food offered on a finger.

An immune system is built via early exposure where it learns what is and isn't a true threat. The way we sanitize now, the immune system can get all out of whack and attack what should just be a "ho-hum" normal thing.

cathyscakes Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 6:39am
post #24 of 43

I'm wondering why Europeans don't have to refrigerate their eggs. I heard that eggs are sold off the shelves in their markets. The shell of the egg is a very protective enviroment. I would never take the chance, just wondering why there are different rules here. Are there more chances of contamination with our eggs, just wondering.

Dayti Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 10:08am
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

I'm wondering why Europeans don't have to refrigerate their eggs. I heard that eggs are sold off the shelves in their markets. The shell of the egg is a very protective enviroment. I would never take the chance, just wondering why there are different rules here. Are there more chances of contamination with our eggs, just wondering.




It's true in Spain at least. I buy my eggs from the supermarket shelf, although it does say on the box that I should refrigerate after purchase. I guess its a product that has such a high turnaround that they don't bother refrigerating it in store. Years ago, you never had to refrigerate them anyway, you just left them in the pantry or on the counter or whatever.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 10:27am
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

I'm wondering why Europeans don't have to refrigerate their eggs. I heard that eggs are sold off the shelves in their markets. The shell of the egg is a very protective enviroment. I would never take the chance, just wondering why there are different rules here. Are there more chances of contamination with our eggs, just wondering.




Because in the US eggs are washed before they are packaged, and thus washing off the natural protective layer that unwashed eggs have on them. In Europe we just package the eggs stright from the bird (after light checking that it is good), hence the protective layer stays intact and the eggs can be stored without needing a fridge.

mivea Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 10:38am
post #27 of 43

I don't think I would risk using the cream cheese, but the eggs are probably fine.

In Denmark we refrigerate eggs even though it's way colder here than in e.g. Spain. After spending a week at the hospital with a salmonella infection I'm super-cautious with eggs and raw meat, though. Most salmonella is actually on the eggshell so temperature is not that big an issue until the eggs are cracked.

Anyway, sorry that you've had such bad luck with your fridge.

FullHouse Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 12:53pm
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

yes -- we HAVE become more paranoid.

and interestingly, more and more properly done scientific studies are coming out that prove you can be TOO clean.

that dirt is actually GOOD for you

that pets and their dander is too

(and on and on)

that children raised in the cleanest environments as babies often end up with the most allergies, asthma and all those other things like that.

and yes, I do believe children are being prevented at an early age from developing good immune systems by being feed over processed commercial baby food.

God forbid!! (he says as sarcastically as he can muster -- ooh, icicles are forming on the eaves!) that a child should just be fed mashed up people food! Or worse yet, mommy chews it up and then gives it to baby to eat and uses her fingers too! or a little taste of peanut butter or any similar mushy food offered on a finger.

An immune system is built via early exposure where it learns what is and isn't a true threat. The way we sanitize now, the immune system can get all out of whack and attack what should just be a "ho-hum" normal thing.




I LOVE IT!!!!!! I'm going to show this to DH and let him know it's why I will no longer be cleaning the house icon_wink.gif .

BTW, I did make baby food myself for my 1st son, but it is actually cheaper to just buy it (and a lot less time consuming once #2, 3, & 4 came alone).

peg818 Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 1:44pm
post #29 of 43

I would say that your eggs and cr ch are probably fine, just move pronto to a working fridge. Tasting some of it, is a good idea

Tug Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 2:02pm
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

special soap dispenser so my dirty hands don't have to touch a germy push-down dispenser on the soap bottle BEFORE I wash them! icon_lol.gif )




Don't make fun of them too much icon_lol.gif . I have them so my kids don't pump the soap bottles like crazy. Without the automatic soap dispensers, my kids think it's a free-for-all and pump the soap like mad. For some reason, they feel 10 or more pumps of soap is required for proper hand washing.
I no longer have that problem with the automatic dispenser. thumbs_up.gif

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