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Question about food safety

Went out for breakfast today and had a delicious omelet croissant. It was huge, so I took half home. It contained, in addition to the croissant, egg, Swiss cheese, and mushrooms. No meat. I forgot to take the box in the house, so it sat in the car for about seven hours. I live in Florida, so it wasn't cold out. I would say the temperature was in the low 70's. I know the food "experts" would say throw it out, but I hate wasting food, especially something so yummy. I'm leaning towards taking the chance and eating it. What would you do?

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Went out for breakfast today and had a delicious omelet croissant. It was huge, so I took half home. It contained, in addition to the croissant, egg, Swiss cheese, and mushrooms. No meat. I forgot to take the box in the house, so it sat in the car for about seven hours. I live in Florida, so it wasn't cold out. I would say the temperature was in the low 70's. I know the food "experts" would say throw it out, but I hate wasting food, especially something so yummy. I'm leaning towards taking the chance and eating it. What would you do?
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Toss it.

You may not want to waste food, but, not to be gross about it, do you want to waste your time running to the bathroom (or, worse, the ER)?
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RE: Toss it.

What you're saying makes sense, and you're probably right. However, when I was a child in the 1950's my grandmother would place any leftovers from dinner on a plate, cover it, and place it on the kitchen counter and she would eat it for breakfast the next morning. She did not refrigerate it, even though there was a refrigerator in the house. She was born in 1878, raised a family of six children through the Depression, and never wasted food. Refrigerators did not become affordable in many households until the 1940's, so most of her life she had no way to cool food except possibly an old fashioned ice box. I also remember when I was in Mexico City being in a kitchen and seeing cartons of raw eggs stored on shelves at room temperatures. That's just the way people stored them. I wonder sometimes if our society has become too wasteful when it comes to the disposal of food. Do we need to be as paranoid as we have become? If we choose to eat our leftovers, I know we'll be taking a chance of becoming sick. We'll see how we feel about it in the morning, but to be honest, I'd be very surprised if either of us got sick.
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Some foods are more problematic than others - and the specific circumstances can vary, too. Pre-refrigeration food storage included the use of cool, dark interior rooms as pantries, and would seem to me to have an edge over the inside of a car on a Florida day. (If the car was in the sun at all, the inside temperature could have gone very high indeed; if it was in the shade or in a garage then it might not have exceeded the '70s you mentioned.)

FWIW, if I'd left a particularly yummy leftover in the car for that long, I would NOT eat it, however tempted; but if I'd left it on the counter indoors, with somewhat cooler temperatures, I just might.

Re eggs: when I worked on a friend's family's ranch during summers at college, the eggs - gathered fresh each morning - were indeed left in bowls on the counter, ready for use. From what I've read, eggs will hold fairly well that way, but as I no longer get eggs fresh from the hen, and tend to hang on to them for a long time (I'd probably better not say HOW long!) before I use up the carton, I put mine in the fridge now.

I do maintain a compost heap, which helps ease my conscience a teeny bit when I've let good food go to waste, but I'd like to be better at planning up front, not buying more things than I will realistically prepare.
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I also remember when I was in Mexico City being in a kitchen and seeing cartons of raw eggs stored on shelves at room temperatures. That's just the way people stored them.


It's a salmonella issue. In the U.S., eggs are power-washed which removes a protective coating. So raw eggs *here* should be refrigerated.

(Obviously, the egg is your sandwich was cooked, so that concern doesn't apply. However, I must say that anything that sat in a car for several hours at 70º would probably just be disgusting.)
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RE: RE: Toss it.

I also remember when I was in Mexico City being in a kitchen and seeing cartons of raw eggs stored on shelves at room temperatures. That's just the way people stored them.

Whether eggs need to be refrigerated depends on whether they've been washed (which strips them of a natural protective coating). In the US, it's the law that eggs are washed if they're going to be sold; I don't know about other countries, but here in the Netherlands we get unwashed eggs and they keep for a long time, out of the fridge.
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It has egg in it.
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I'm not clear on your message. What is she not supposed to change?
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What is she not supposed to change?

Oeps, my "english is my second language" is showing.
What I meant was: Don't risk it.
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What I meant was: Don't risk it.

Ah, you meant to type 'chance', I think. Easy mistake to make!
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Ah, you meant to type 'chance', I think. Easy mistake to make!

That's right. Thanks Moem.
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Ah. Of course. I should have thought of that!
Sorry to bother you!
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Sorry to bother you!

That's OK, I ' live and learn '.
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And we haven't eaten our left over omelets. My biggest concern is the temperature in the car, although It was was not parked in the sun.. There was a good stiff breeze off the ocean making the air feel cooler, but the windows were not open. On the other hand, eggs are in cakes, cookies and numerous other items we cook, and are eaten without being refrigerated, and that's never a concern. I will probably end up making omelets here at home, since I have everything I need. Sure wish I had a couple of croissants so I could duplicate this meal exactly.
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lasting I think one semester. Poultry and eggs handling before, during and after cooking was a topic that took several hours of the semester and I seem to remember it spread on two whole chapters out of a 12 chapters' book.

I love omelets and most egg-based dishes but I would never, and I mean never, risk food poisoning or illness -which can show several weeks latter- by eating an omelet several hours after been cooked. This is one of those dishes that you have to prepare and consume immediately.
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I love omelets and most egg-based dishes but I would never, and I mean never, risk food poisoning or illness -which can show several weeks latter- by eating an omelet several hours after been cooked. This is one of those dishes that you have to prepare and consume immediately.


Not to contradict your lessons, but just FWIW from my experience, I regularly make omelet sandwiches (an omelet inside a roll or baguette with with tomato, mayo, onion slices, etc) at about 9 or earlier, before I leave the house, to have for lunch 3-4 hours later, and have never had any trouble, nor heard that one cannot eat eggs hours after they've been cooked. Of course this is not relating to the "hot-car" circumstance. I've also always found my nose to be a pretty good indicator. When something has sat in the heat for a bit, it just smells … wrong. But I also think what one does for themselves might differ from what one is/should be taught when preparing food for sale and public consumption.
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I feel the same way you do, lils74. When we were kids, we brought school lunches from home and they stayed in our lunch boxes for several hours without being refrigerated. I never knew of anyone who got sick. If I hadn't left the omelets in the car, but brought it in the house and it sat unrefrigerated for 3-4 hours, I know I would have put it in the fridge overnight and had it for breakfast the next day. However, 7 hours in a warm car is a bit long. We tossed them.
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I would eat an omelette several hours after it had been cooked, if it had been placed immediately in the fridge. To throw it out when it is still okay, is wasteful. I also consider it wasteful to throw out food just because it's past its so called 'use by date'. That doesn't mean it's off; that depends how it has been stored and what it is. Food can go off before its 'use by date' if badly stored, or go on much longer with good storage. I have seen salt with a use by date! In forty years of cooking, I have never given myself food poisoning, and often food goes beyond its arbitrary 'use by date'. But I have had food poisoning elsewhere.
I would not eat an omelette if it had been in a hot car.
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in the end...

My first thought when I realized we left the box in the car, was to throw the omelets out. My husband said, "Do you really think they're not safe? Why don't you google it." (He was looking forward to breakfast the next day.) So that's what I did. I got all sorts of answers; some saying they were fine, some saying absolutely throw them out. That's when I decided to ask Bookcrossers, whose opinions I almost always respect. In the end, we didn't eat them for fear of getting sick. Once again, Bookcrossers, thank you for your wise responses.
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VERY interesting article. I learned something I didn't know. Thanks for sharing.
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Great article. I knew about the washed/unwashed and refrigerated or not bit, but there's a lot more interesting detail in there. Thanks.
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might eat it. I live in Florida, too.
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Yes, and it was my husband's idea to think twice about throwing it out. He might have eaten his.
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so most foods won't know they've passed their "expiration date" :o) and a lot of things will be fine or at least show with a wonky smell or texture that they're not

However, egg, dairy and meat (not that I eat meat anymore) products I'd rather toss than risk it. I had food poisoning once (yeah, cocktails in a shady bar were a *really* good idea...)
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It's usually obvious when milk is off. The smell and the curdling. Don't throw it out because it is a few days beyond it's 'use' by date. Smell it, check if it's curdling and if it passes those tests, taste a little bit. If it is still okay, hasn't curdled and tastes okay and has been stored correctly, I would use it.
I have eaten eggs months after their use by date, but I test all eggs by smelling them before use. (The eggs were stored in the fridge.) I have only ever found two off eggs and they were newly bought, within their use by date.
Meat I don't risk and I cook properly. I do like rare meat, but after seeing hydatids and other worms inside meat during my work, I no longer eat rare meat. My suggestion is to cook meat well.
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When it comes to eggs, I don't go by the use by date. Back before they started putting dates on foods, we were taught to put eggs in a bowl of water. If they sink, they're fine. If they float, they probably have gone bad.
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If they sink, they're fine. If they float, they probably have gone bad.

Thank you good advice. I found this, "Place the egg in a bowl of water. If the egg lays on its side at the bottom, it is still quite fresh. If the egg stands upright on the bottom, it is still fine to eat, but should be eaten very soon, or hard-boiled. If the egg floats to the top, it's past its prime, and not good for eating."

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