General Question

flo's avatar

Why are condiments among the top of the list items to toss out after extended power outage?

Asked by flo (12974points) April 18th, 2016

Why are all condiments easily spoil-able or are they?

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22 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Because they are not considered “real” food by people?
The first thing that I would toss out is husband.

Seek's avatar

Many condiments are dairy- and egg-based. Think mayonnaise, creamy salad dressing, tartar sauce, etc.

I wouldn’t worry as much about vinegar-based condiments, like mustard and shoyu/soy sauce.

jerv's avatar

I think @Seek pretty much covered it, though I wish to add that it’s a lot easier to say “Discard all condiments.” than to have two long lists to go through or read ingredient lists.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s better to just toss them all. Food poisoning sucks.

@ragingloli Assuming you can get one in the first place.

janbb's avatar

I would definitely ignore that and use my own judgment about which ones are likely to be spoiled.

elbanditoroso's avatar

How long was the power out? If the fridge was out for more than 56 hours toss the mayonnaise (only). Evertything else will be fine.

dxs's avatar

To me, it seems as though condiments would be towards the end of the list. They’re in containers and processed and what not, so they should stay fresher longer.

First thing that’d go is meat.
Then dairy.
Then fruits and veggies.
Then maybe condiments and everything else.

Like @janbb, I never throw something out unless I taste it, smell it, or I can clearly see it’s bad (i.e. visible mold).

kritiper's avatar

Actually, mayo doesn’t really go bad unless it comes into contact with some other foodstuff. I was surprised to find out that mayo, if used regularly, can be kept unrefrigerated! Was I surprised!!!
My old fridge has the freezer compartment in the main storage area. As long as the ice holds out (like an old ice box), I’d keep many things.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Because people keep for ages anyway and a power out gives you an excuse for a clear out.

anniereborn's avatar

I don’t keep mustard, ketchup or barbecue sauces in the fridge. Of course they get gone through pretty fast. Salad dressings and mayonnaise are in the fridge for sure. I would definitely toss those out quick.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Everytime I look at the “best by” dates on our condiments it tends to bring pause. Sure some things are perfectly fine out of the fridge for an extended time but if it’s old anyway then let it go. The one time I can remember this happening we threw everything out that was open.

jca's avatar

The refrigerator, even with power outage, is like a giant cooler As long as you don’t open the door too often it will stay cold inside. Condiments I would not toss unless the power were out for longer than 2 days. My one exception is mayonnaise. When I was about 15, I ate bad mayo and I was so sick that death would have been a better alternative. Now, I don’t play when it comes to mayo. I toss it if I even suspect there’s an issue. Recently I was on vacation and had a small jar of mayo that I forgot to refrigerate. I tossed it as soon as I got home because that memory of being 15 and sick as a dog until I puked my guts up still haunts me.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo According to Federal Food Safety info condiments are not at the top of the list.

Peanut butter, Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles, Opened vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces; all are considered safe.

The ones to get rid off are consistent with what people say above: mayonnaise, tartar sauce, ceram and dairy based sauces, open spaghetti sauce, fish sauces.

marinelife's avatar

They are not, but they have generally been sitting in the fridge or freezer for a long time.

filmfann's avatar

Before you toss it all, look at your ice cube tray.
If it is a large block of ice or water, toss the mayo, yogurt, and tartar sauce.
If the ice still has cube shape, you’re probably okay.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: Yogurt? I’ve had yogurt out of the refrigerator for two days and it’s ok, as long as it’s not in sweltering heat.

JLeslie's avatar

A friend of mine once suggested to put ice cubes in a bowl in the freezer when you leave for 2+ days so you know if the freezer/fridge lost it’s “cold.” I think that’s a good idea. If the power goes out it’s hard to be sure if everything got warm if by the time you get back everything is cold again.

I’ve been through losing power for days. Vinegar and soy sauce are the only two I felt good about at room temp. A few others I’m fine if they are kept reasonably cool for half a day like ketchup and mustard and noncreamy type dressings. Anything creamy I trash after a couple of hours.

By the way, when I lost most of my condiments and some food my home insurance covered it. I’m sure people must lie about how much they lost. I didn’t, but even so condiments add up.

jca's avatar

We had a power outage here for a bunch of days a few years ago. I called my insurance company and they said I had $500 deductible. It would be hard to say I had more than $500 worth of food in the refrigerator.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca On my policy I had some sort of condiment coverage. Lol. I don’t remember exactly, I didn’t even know until the insurance company told me. I think I said it was $250 or $300? I don’t think it was part of my deductible? I could be remembering incorrectly.

cazzie's avatar

If my fridge fails I can put my stuff outside in boxes covered in damp towels. It’s sleeting today.

JLeslie's avatar

^^A bonus about cold weather living. In Florida our power usually fails in the middle of the summer when it’s 85F even at night.

flo's avatar

Of course it makes sense they mean the ones with dairy products in them. But I never hear the diary products part.

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