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Derek McGowan

What do you think

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A question of curiosity

Do you think that food that has been warmed, lasts for a shorter period of time then food that has been consistently chilled.

So you take 3 portions of the exact same food. You put all of them in a fridge to reach a uniform temperature. You then take one out just long enough to reach a fairly warm room temperature (80 degrees Fahrenheit, no humidity) then put it back in fridge. You also take the third piece and raise its temp to the same room temperature but this time with high humidity (like in a bathroom with the shower on) and put it back in the fridge.

Which one do you think would go bad first? Would the changes make any difference at all? I don't know the answer and would prefer to brainstorm (not get hit with a link)

If you have any input, please comment

ps I'm writing 3 questions in different categories to brain storm on. If you have a link, please post what you think the answer is before you post link

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I'll take the questions, with some qualifiers. The items of food are not 'prepared'/cooked/pasteurized though they may have been processed and inspected for disease or contamination. Example, milk, meat, eggs.

I'll not add qualifiers about the source or probability of contamination of the batches of food.

The first batch to 'go bad' will be the food that has been warmed up to room temperature, with a slight extra edge to that at temperature in a moist environment.

My reasons are fairly simple. The air and surfaces contain bacteria (and spores and viruses). Some of the bacteria create toxins as they feed. Food bacteria feed and reproduce best in conditions close to human body temperature. In a batch of food there are already present miniscule amounts of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria. Cooking the food completely destroys the bacteria but not necessarily toxic byproducts. Leaving an egg, milk (unpasteurized) to its own devices, any batch given air will eventually be colonized and overwhelmed, by molds, bacteria, and any attendant toxins. (not to mention parasites, cysts, worms, eggs, flukes and the like which can colonize the human if not cooked to death).

I think of the lifetime of a cut of meat. All things being equal, internal and colony bacteria will reproduce, colonies will take hold and spread, and the balance will increase as time goes on, even in a refrigerator. An unappealing, possibly poisonous, slab of slime is a given, given enough time.

The time spent reaching and holding at the higher temperature outside the refrigerator can only increase any profusion of bacteria in a batch. Put back in the fridge, it has a 'head start' on the batches that were kept cool. Every time the food is warming without cooking(killing) bacteria, bacteria get a chance to increase their numbers (and each doubling of bacteria setting a stage for the next doubling). Next step, food-borne illness.

No link, no muss, no fuss. Does that make good sense to you, Derek?

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William's reasoning seems sound. I always give food the smell test. Recently I bought some barbequed chicken with a side of pasta salad and potato salad. The potato salad had vinegar in it which is not the usual recipe though sweet pickle juice is normal in potato salad. After the first bite I wondered if it had gone bad and was turning to vinegar. The smell test revealed to me that apple cider vinegar had gone into the salad. I have eaten from the tub a few times and I have suffered no ill effects. So, turning to vinegar means it is going bad but adding vinegar will probably keep the salad fresher for a longer time.

Rachel Ray or somebody was pushing the idea that you make a vinegar sauce with spices and put veggies in it to marinate then eat them and refill the jar with more veggies and they rarely go bad. I am old enough to remember the ice man coming by our house selling ice for the "Ice Box." I think we got a fridge when I was three at our home in Norfolk, Virginia. And we were the third family to get a TV in Norfolk, and literally had fifty navy family's trying to crowd into our living room to watch certain shows. I was banished during the Friday Night Fights due to drinking and foul language. Look sharp~Feel sharp~Be sharp. Gillette razor blades! could be heard from my bedroom.

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Eating bacteria that will hurt you is very hard. What is inside the GI tract is actually still outside the body. The GI tract is inside the body, not its contents. Otherwise you'd get peritonitis and die. There are likely hundreds of times more bacteria inside your GI than people on Earth.

--Brant

talking trillions, so take probiotics and give your gut what it wants and needs: balance

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Re eating bacteria, of course, Brant is right. Most bacteria we consume (from water, food) faces a ruthless machine, starting with the mouth. Of course, bacteria can proliferate quickly and produce amounts of toxic substances that poison the consumer. This is what happens with botulism.

I did mention molds, bacteria, and any attendant toxins, parasites, cysts, worms, eggs, flukes. But even restricted to bacteria alone, and setting aside Clostridium botulinum, our ruthless machinery can be overwhelmed and food poisoning result. The essential point is profusion, exponential growth, massive quantity of bacteria on and in food that has been contaminated. The point of cooling is to keep the food temperature outside of the so-called "Danger Zone," between 40 °F - 140 °F. A contaminated batch of food will have its bacterial numbers double every twenty minutes in the Danger Zone.

If your conjecture were true, Brant, it would not explain foodborne Listeria, E. coli or Salmonella outbreaks. These bacteria ingested can kill you, as they kill 3000 a year in the USA. They can hobble you, as some of the 200,000 hospitalized can assure you.

Anyhow, food safety is as always a huge concern, and the enormous food industries do their level best to provide us with uncontaminated fresh product. Once you have that fine product home, the onus is on you. Well, except for cases of Listeria in processed foods that have escaped detection (do you trust that frankfurter or slice of headcheese or hamburger patty?).

There are several other killer bacteria I do not note. One is called 'buffet disease' and is worth the Google. Or check the link here for the larger class of 'foodborne pathogens,' where you can also learn in detail how they become deadly to humans.

***********************************

Pathogen: "I kill you." Host: "Ha. I kill you." Pathogen: "We are eight billion. We laugh at your stomach acids and other feeble defenses." Host: "Ha to your legion. I have antibiotics. Enjoy death." Pathogen: "You kill me, you kill 'good' flora too. Argh." Host: "I will just have a yogurt and shit transplant. Thanks for playing."

Edited by william.scherk

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A question of curiosity

Do you think that food that has been warmed, lasts for a shorter period of time then food that has been consistently chilled.

So you take 3 portions of the exact same food. You put all of them in a fridge to reach a uniform temperature. You then take one out just long enough to reach a fairly warm room temperature (80 degrees Fahrenheit, no humidity) then put it back in fridge. You also take the third piece and raise its temp to the same room temperature but this time with high humidity (like in a bathroom with the shower on) and put it back in the fridge.

Which one do you think would go bad first? Would the changes make any difference at all? I don't know the answer and would prefer to brainstorm (not get hit with a link)

If you have any input, please comment

ps I'm writing 3 questions in different categories to brain storm on. If you have a link, please post what you think the answer is before you post link

As soon as the food warms up, the bacteria begin to multiply.....

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No link, no muss, no fuss. Does that make good sense to you, Derek?

Yes, absolutely it makes sense but the one thing that keeps me from any defined conclusion is that (my amateur thoughts) was once the food is chilled back down then it doesn't matter how many extra bacteria because they all would grow at the same slowed pace.

But maybe where I am confused is not that food goes bad because the bacteria grows but that it multiplies and if bad is defined by having x number of bacteria which is a certain number of doublings away, then the more you start out with, the less number of doublings you must do to reach x number

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