Should You Eat That?
February 19, 2009 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Do you still have some leftovers from Christmas hiding in the back of your fridge? Are you wondering if you should eat it? This is a site dedicated to that very important question.

We've been over this before. Several times, in fact.
Apparently, they get their information from the USDA, along with some manufacturers and universities.
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posted by ArgentCorvid (27 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
This should eliminate hundreds of AskMe questions. Not really.
posted by fixedgear at 5:00 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whatever it is, throw it away. No website necessary. Problem solved.
posted by Zambrano at 5:04 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Zambrando just gave me the idea for my next single serving website.
posted by Avelwood at 5:13 PM on February 19, 2009


Should I eat this?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:14 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you still have some leftovers from Christmas hiding in the back of your fridge?

If yes, congratulations on being a lazy, disgusting slob.
posted by DU at 5:22 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hmm. What jumps out at me about shouldieatthis.com is the word die sandwiched in the middle.
posted by moonshine at 5:34 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The site doesn't address the nuances that come out of "Should I eat this?" questions on AskMe. For example, when someone asks if they should eat the lunch they left on their home counter in the morning after they get back from work in the evening, they are really looking for relationship advice because we, as discerning question answerers, know the person yearns for someone who will have dinner ready for them when they get home.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 5:38 PM on February 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


If yes, congratulations on being a lazy, disgusting slob.

Hah, don't open my fridge, then. I have leftover Jones Caramel Apple Soda from 2005 I can't bring myself to throw out.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:40 PM on February 19, 2009


Like someone said recently, cheese doesn't get bad, it just gets worse.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:02 PM on February 19, 2009


For example, when someone asks if they should eat the lunch they left on their home counter in the morning after they get back from work in the evening, they are really looking for relationship advice because we, as discerning question answerers, know the person yearns for someone who will have dinner ready for them when they get home.

Good grief; just because my wife posts one question on the subject..
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:08 PM on February 19, 2009


While I wouldn't recommend eating much of the leftovers from Christmas, this website is cool. Thanks for posting.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:14 PM on February 19, 2009


Ground cinnamon, 2 to 3 years? This is the kind of thing that makes me doubt the content. Obviously it's not ideal for culinary use, but I bet most ground spices would be edible for 10 to 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place. Lemon ginger is the only thing I've found that seems to go rancid.
posted by crapmatic at 7:12 PM on February 19, 2009


crapmatic, I think that one is based on the manufacturer's recommendation. Like a bunch of foods, the recommendations are based on quality, not safety. So yeah, I can use 10 year old cinnamon (and I have), but it doesn't taste the same if I were to use freshly ground.

I may have overstated the 'safety' angle to this link for entertainment purposes.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:28 PM on February 19, 2009


this is very useful to me.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:33 PM on February 19, 2009


Apparently, I'm not supposed to eat pizza that was left out overnight. Blasphemy!
posted by ssg at 7:38 PM on February 19, 2009


I'm finding a lot of the site's recommendations are quite conservative...an onion that's been partly chopped lasts a lot longer than 3 days in the fridge.
posted by Beardman at 7:46 PM on February 19, 2009


Apparently, I'm not supposed to eat pizza that was left out overnight. Blasphemy!

Fortunately, there's no "pizza that was left overnight". Pizza is the name of a dinner food, which is served hot and melty. As soon as it cools down, it becomes another entirely different food, the perfect mix of crunchy and rubbery called "Cold Pizza", which is a breakfast. Cold Pizza is good for at least seven days.
posted by qvantamon at 8:20 PM on February 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Touche, ArgentCorvid. Good site nonetheless and bookmarked.
posted by crapmatic at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2009


Did you see the bit about not rinsing raw chicken? That completely blows my mind. I've been doing that for years, thinking that I was, like, rinsing possible poo off or something.
posted by web-goddess at 10:20 PM on February 19, 2009


That rinsing chicken thing that web-goddess brought up makes me suspect the entire site.

...any bacteria present on the chicken’s surface will be destroyed if you cook the poultry properly and thoroughly.

A large enough amount of live bacteria, sure, will make you sick. Cooking something with lots of bacteria (and killing the bacteria) will still make you sick since your innate immune response will still recognize the endotoxin that makes up the cell walls of bacteria and... give you food poisoning. Most food poisoning comes from innate immune responses to evolutionarily conserved motifs that our immune system associate with pathogens.

Leaving uncooked chicken out is bad since there's a *little* bit of bacteria which will grow into *more* bacteria. Washing off stuff stuck on the surface of raw chicken... gah!

The problem is that when you rinse raw chicken, you’re allowing the bacteria that is present on the surface of the poultry to spread to everything else that’s nearby...

What. The. Hell.?!

Horrible site. No cites in it, either.

/yeah, outraged.
posted by porpoise at 12:16 AM on February 20, 2009


Question: Last night, I ordered in some pizza and then fell asleep for a few hours before I could put away the leftovers. The pizza was sitting on the counter for a total of about 6 hours before I put it in the fridge. It still smells fine — is it safe to eat?"

Answer: Sorry, but you're out of luck.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it’s dangerous to eat any cooked food (including takeout foods like pizza, fried chicken or Chinese food) that has been allowed to sit at room temperature for two hours or longer.


Does anyone really believe this? That you order a pizza at the beginning of a football game and by the end of the game its *dangerous* to eat it.

I can see the site might want to avoid lawsuits by just parroting the extremely conservative government guidelines, but, unfortunately, it makes the site useless.
posted by vacapinta at 12:44 AM on February 20, 2009


*drafts a little piece of html to paste into the endless AskMe threads
*ponders a macro that searches for the term "should I eat this" for an auto-pasting (not really)
posted by caddis at 3:38 AM on February 20, 2009


I'm having a hard time believing that there might actually be morons out there that would ask if bottled water could spoil.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:38 AM on February 20, 2009


The problem is that when you rinse raw chicken, you’re allowing the bacteria that is present on the surface of the poultry to spread to everything else that’s nearby...

What. The. Hell.?!

Horrible site. No cites in it, either.


You know, the sentence before the one you quoted states:
The United States Department of Agriculture advises against the practice of rinsing poultry or meat before cooking it.

The sentence after the one you quoted states:
And as the USDA also points out, any bacteria present on the chicken’s surface will be destroyed if you cook the poultry properly and thoroughly.

The article also links to this page.

Okay, so maybe there's no bibliography, but those sound like "cites" to me.
posted by ErWenn at 5:53 AM on February 20, 2009


For the record, those Swedish gingersnap-y Anna's cookies they sell in the cute tins at IKEA are still not only totally edible, but also pretty darn tasty 2+ years after opening. (Don't ask. But it was 5+ years ago and so I think I can say I survived just fine...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:55 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My policy is that if I have to even think of asking "is this still good?" the answer is "No."

Maybe I waste some food now and then, but I haven't gotten sick from anything I've consumed in my own home.

(And I totally eat pizza left on the counter overnight.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:44 AM on February 20, 2009


My policy is that if I have to even think of asking "is this still good?" the answer is "No."

I hear this kind of advice a lot, and I understand where it comes from. It's fantastic advice for some people (usually those who don't have chronic doublethink problems and who have a bit of knowledge about what the particular food item looks/smells/tastes like when it goes bad). If it's a borderline case and your health is on the line, you should definitely air on the side of caution. But often, the reason someone is asking the question is because they don't even know if what they're looking at is truly a borderline case. Imagine someone who didn't know whether the "sell by" date on a carton of milk was the date the milk was expected to go bad (a true expiration date) or if it was expected to remain good for at least a few days afterwards. This person has a very good reason for asking "is this still good", but the answer really shouldn't be "no" for them.

And that doesn't even begin to dip into the wide realm of people who find themselves asking "is this still good?" for no good reason whatsoever. I find myself in this kind of situation all the time. Sometimes, as soon as I turn my thoughts inward, I become completely unable to make certain kinds of decisions objectively. I can't remember if milk is supposed to have that smell, and if I'm lucky enough to have someone else around to ask, the answer turns out usually (but not always) to be "yes, it always smells like that." I've found that once I start seriously doubting a subjective determination, there are only two ways to break out of it. One is to play it safe wait until I get some sort of objective evidence (or at least the subjective evidence of someone else who isn't also in a self-doubt loop). The other is to just bite the bullet and take the riskier option, just to keep myself from being mentally paralyzed. If I adopt the policy of playing it safe every time I find myself questioning things, then the next time, I'll start asking myself whether I should be asking myself, and that's a recursive loop that is not guaranteed to terminate.

I guess this is really just a roundabout way of saying that not borderline cases are not the only reason someone might ask about something, and playing it safe can't always be the answer.
posted by ErWenn at 9:28 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


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