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Two specific food safety questions

Somehow (I'm still scratching my head wondering), I left the door to my fridge wide open last night and went maybe nine hours before finding out. I opened a soda bottle in there and my instant read thermometer read 55 degrees. Temp could have been a bit higher elsewhere in there. I think I know my course of action for most things (mostly keep a while). But:

1. I bought some large sea scallops yesterday. Could they really go south that fast? They were still partially frozen the evening before the incident. Is a sniff test meaningful?

2. I have four new jars of homemade Giardiniera (mixed veggies) in there, not canned for shelf-stability, but instead in about a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and canola oil. Any experience out there with those sorts of things?

Thanks!

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  1. My opinion is that the Giardiniera is fine due to the acidic content and oil content, and because of what they are.

    As for the scallops, it is a slightly tougher call, but I still think they are ok. Smell them and touch them. Do they feel cold to you? 55 degree is not the best temperature, but it is not the worse. Most refrigerators operate at around 4 degree Celsius, some slightly higher, so it is ~40 Fahrenheit for normal operation. In all honesty, many people operate theirs probably even at 50 F. The problem is that just because your soda is 55 F, I cannot be sure it is the highest temperature in the refrigerator. What if your refrigerator is really at 65 F, and the soda just happen to be 55 F?

    You ultimately have to make the call for the scallops.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I would go with the sniff test on the scallops. If that goes well, maybe cut one in half and cook it up so you don't find out you were wrong just as everyone sits down to dinner.

      1. re: escondido123

        I agree. I think the chance is fine, but we are talking about health here, so sometime we just have different threshold for this kind of things. You suggestion makes sense.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I tend to be pretty laissez-faire about these things and hadn't really thought of the scallops posing a health problem--I know I've eaten my share of scallops that were past their prime given how poorly they are often handled in the supermarket. My main concern was whether they'd taste good, but guess getting sick would not be a great idea.

    2. I'd guess that the giardiniera is safe because of the high acid content. But I'd toss the scallops just to be on the safe side. Raw seafood is highly perishable and grows serious nasties very easily.

      1. Take it from someone who has had his share of food poisoning, throw out the Scallops!! Don't take a chance.

        1. I think both are fine, although I'd be more wary of the scallops than the veggies.

          1. Get the seafood out. Smell/taste the giadineiera. If it doesn't smell/taste off, it's likely fine.

            1. After two horrifying bouts of food poisoning in my lifetime I operate like this:

              1. If I eat this and later find myself on the bowl holding a bowl, how much $ would I be willing to pay to go back in time and not eat this?

              One of those food poisonings was from scallops in a restaurant, and one of us landed in the hospital and I probably should've as well since I spent two days on the floor of the living room hugging the floor. Oh, and I had only nibbled a couple scallops from the other person's plate.

              If you eat them and are fine, you'll probably do it again one day and think anyone else is silly being so cautious. If you almost die (or wish you would), you'll never do it again, I promise you.

              I think I'd eat the giardiniera, but would try and eat it in the next couple weeks rather than months. That's the sort of thing people repeatedly take out of the fridge, leave on the counter or table for awhile, then return to the fridge.

              What are we talking here, $35, $40 worth of scallops? If you're too poor to throw them out, can you afford the Immodium, time off work, etc.? They're likely fine, I bet you're eating them now, good luck :)

              1. Although I'd resolved to toss the scallops--why risk anything?--I first sniffed them and, not only did they not smell off, they smelled absolutely perfect. So I seared them up, made some risotto, and am fine 12 hours later.

                That should not be taken as my general advice, though. I'm not a daredevil type. In this case, they were helped no doubt by still being somewhat frozen at the outset.

                Thanks for all the thoughts.