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Jul 21, 2005 12:03 PM

Refrigerator door left open... Help!

  • r

Last night, in my rush to get to bed, I accidentally left the fridge door open about 3 inches. I didn't discover this until 7 hours later, unfortunately!
So my question is: what do I need to chuck, and what's probably still okay? I already tossed the egg substitute, but the milk was towards the back and still seemed fairly cold, and isn't smelly, so I kept it. Other questionable items are:

yogurt - was in the fridge door, basically room temp when I found it
soft & hard cheeses
cream cheese
chicken sausage (kept in the back)
fruits & veggies
jams, jellies, salad dressings (vinaigrettes mostly)
opened canned beans
grated parmesan in the green box (i know, i know)

Can I adopt the "wait and see" approach, or is that just the "wait and get food poisoning" approach? Any advice is appreciated - I feel like such a dunce!

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  1. Cook up the sausages now or toss and put the yogurt in a smoothie today or tomorrow. Everything else should be fine. Just be sure to eat it sooner rather than later.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ellen

      I agree. Toss the chicken, keep the rest. Yogurt has bacteria in it anyway. Regarding fruits and vegetables, I don't think they have refrigeration on the farm.

      1. re: rjka

        Ditto again, except that I would toss the beans - all those carbs make them a surprisingly fertile ground for mold and other nasties (and why bother saving a questionable $.75 or so worth of beans?). The sausage would possibly be OK if you used it immediately and cooked it a bit more than thoroughly, but I would probably end up deciding to toss it.

        As for everything else, most of that stuff you don't "need" to keep in the fridge for food safety reasons anyway - tossing it would be ridiculous.

        Cheese and yogurt were basically invented as ways to preserve milk. And 40F is rather cold for cheese anyway - in an idea world we'd all have "cool" fridges at about 50-55F for stuff like that.LOL Same deal with jams and jellies, and the vinaigrettes also don't need refrigeration for food safety reasons, either.

        And that stuff in the green can - well, I don't think nuclear winter or solar flares could harm it. If I remember correctly, the label doesn't even tell you you need keep it in the fridge at all, does it?

    2. Bacteria grows when the food is between 45 and 145. Toss it all clean the fridge and start fresh with new items. When in doubt toss it out.

      1. j
        JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

        Well, the "parmesan" in the green can should be tossed just on principle...

        1. One thing for future consideration, if you can leave your fridge door open 3", that probably means your refridgerator is not set up properly. The fridge door should close automatically unless it's open wide. There are a couple of screwed in legs that can be adjusted.

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions! The yogurt seemed okay but I'll try to use it up ASAP, and I'll keep an eye on the cheese. Everything else appears to be alright, but I won't be tossing anything into a recipe without some close inspection. And I agree, the door probably has some issues if it's able to just hang open like that - it'll be good to take a look at it.

            I appreciate your help!