### Author Topic: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?  (Read 2020 times)

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#### Ice-Tea

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2017, 07:31:41 PM »
Plastic bottles expand, actually. Never had any problems filling them at 95%.
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#### Hero999

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2017, 07:42:36 PM »
- Use your freezer to freeze a few 2l bottles (plastic!!) of water. Put them in your fridge. Much less messy than a leaking bag of ice cubes

for a fridge with about 5m^2 outer surface area and a heat leak of 20W, i think i will need about 14L of water @ -10C. it will last about 8hrs. but i think most fridges might be worse than 4W/m^2.

Pretty sure you got your math wrong (perhaps forgot the latent heat?)
I think so. Water has a relatively low temperature heat capacity, whist frozen. Most of the energy, taken from the surroundings, occurs when it changes phase, from solid to liquid.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 09:42:02 PM by Hero999 »

#### Jeroen3

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2017, 08:16:54 PM »
I've recently performed a -25 cold test on a product in a regular freezer.
After turning the freezer off and with the lid closed it took about 6 hours to get to 0 C.

This was with one product of 1.4 kg, and three more 5 kg aluminum heatsinks as thermal mass. Plenty of room in the freezer left.
I guess if you fill the freezer with as much stuff as possible you can keep it cold long enough.
Then don't fill it with foam, but material with a high specific heat. Those are materials that require a lot of energy to heat up. Water for example.

#### Paul Moir

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2017, 08:23:37 PM »
What may go wrong with cooked rice after just 7 hours?

There can be a food poisoning danger with stored cooked rice if you do not reheat it thoroughly before eating.
Fine, but then it does not matter if rice was stored cooled in a fridge or not.
People's idea of "Hot" <> thermal death temperature of microbes.  Also the particular microbe of concern can produce a toxin which cannot be destroyed easily.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 08:28:02 PM by Paul Moir »

#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2017, 08:39:20 PM »
I don't think I'd be eating leftover cooked eggs, meat, fish, rice and so on after 7 hours.
What may go wrong with cooked rice after just 7 hours?

Bacillus cereus, which is serious (sic)
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#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2017, 08:43:09 PM »
I've just been informed of a scheduled power outage due to occur in my area which will last for up to 7 hours during the day.

I currently have my fridge/freezer set to 3°C and -21°C respectively. The ambient temperature outside the fridge will probably be around 20-22 degrees.

I know this a really difficult question to answer, but maybe someone has thought of it already? At it's lowest setting, do you think it'll hold a cold enough temperature so I don't need to throw out food (or go on a mad eating spree the day before)? Most of what is in the fridge is not suitable for freezing.

Simple physics: it depends on the ratio of internal thermal mass to thermal conductivity from the inside to the outside.

You can increase the thermal mass by simply having more stuff inside. Water is a good option, frozen water even more so due to the latent heat of crystallisation.

You can decrease the thermal conductivity by putting a blanket over it and preventing draughts, but beware of putting a blanket over the radiator.
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#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2017, 08:55:11 PM »
Most people are far too cautious about food storage, recall that the modern household electric fridge is a relatively recent invention and took a while to reach market saturation:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8605239/The-rise-of-the-fridge.html

Indeed; I remember my parents getting their first fridge, and I couldn't afford one for 2 years.

Quote
The majority of foods will keep for days at room temperature without spoiling to the point they would make you sick, they might change colour or taste different but they'll still be healthy to eat. Use by, best before, and expiry dates are set by manufacturers to maintain their quality "standards" which is dominated by looks and tastes and rarely food safety. Cultured milk products are particularly aggressive in their expiry dates despite being pasteurised in Australia.

I'm speaking as someone whose cupboard contains has an item marked "best before Dec 1992", some homemade jam from 1988, and who leaves meat hanging in the air for 6 months without ill effect.

Your statement is dangerously ignorant. A couple of the more obvious examples below.

Quote
Almost anything is safe to consume once it has been cooked properly, heck get over 70 degrees Celcius and you too can drink that pint of sewerage:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/Boiling_water_01_15.pdf

That's dangerously ignorant. Botulism kills and bacillus cereus can kill; some toxins are not affected by cooking. There are too many other examples.

An entertaining read is "Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food" by Jeff Potter. It goes into some detail about what happens and does not happen to food and pathogens at various temperatures.

Summary: you must know the exceptions.
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#### Ian.M

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2017, 10:06:36 PM »
Freezing strong brine solution will vastly extend the time you can hold the freezer contents at a safe temperature for.  e.g. 1Kg of salt in 6 litres of water starts to  freeze at -10°C, and will help hold that temperature until its all melted.  Fill 2L PET bottles not more than 90% full - 85% is good (measure 300mL of water into one empty, cap and invert it and mark the level to use for all of them), expel all the air and freeze them down.   Each will take about 540KJ of heat energy to fully melt them and a further 65KJ to reach 0°C.

For comparison a 2Kg bag of Ice at -20°C will only take 85KJ to reach 0°C and start melting.

You'll probably need to stagger freezing the bottles due to the heavy thermal load they'll put on the freezer during freeze-down.

Alternatively if you are out of time, start with 1/3Kg of salt per 2Kg bag of crushed ice, and use wider mouthed containers than PET bottles soyou can mix it in-situ to avoid the uneven distribution of ice and brine that you'll probably get if you mix in bulk and decant.

As you don't want to freeze your fridge contents, ordinary ice is better there.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 10:33:20 PM by Ian.M »

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#### Seekonk

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2017, 12:56:38 AM »
My mother gave me my favorite sausage that I can't find where I live.  A week later I ate it.  After eating I looked at the packaging and it 5 months beyond the sell by date.  Not that bad, but they had gone through a major storm that left them without power for 6 days.  They had a big filled SubZero fridge and no more than two little coolers.  That woman wouldn't throw out anything.  Tasted great.

I have am off grid camp I stay at all summer.  Just a chest fridge and that only runs daylight hours.  Large mass of liquid keeps it through the night.  Freeze a lot of milk jugs.

#### R005T3r

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2017, 12:59:21 AM »
How annoying, I've solved power-outage problems with a used diesel generator, and it works not only for fridges but also for other appliences as well.

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#### Vtile

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2017, 01:13:35 AM »
Food storage recommendations are made for worst case scenario in mind, they are pretty paranoid at least this side of the ocean. Ie. My mother (age of 75) refuges to use freezer fridge for her cheese (as it doesn't taste anything if cold she says) and it basicly sits on the kitchen desk for a week or two straight at 23 deg.C. Any food official would die from just to know that someone is letting it to get warm.

The difference for older days though is that especially meat can be over aged already when you buy it from the store, that is unfortunate. With the quality sold here I wouldn't be worried, but I don't know the US situation. The E. coli is a real problem in US what I have heard as the life stock is drowning to their own poop in farms.

Freeze some water like said in plastic bottles and fill the freezer. The fish, seafood and meat are the things one should look after, especially crayfish etc.

PS. Where did I get to my head that Halcyon were from US, sry... I now see you were from down under.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 01:34:53 AM by Vtile »

#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2017, 01:33:07 AM »
Food storage recommendations are made for worst case scenario in mind, they are pretty paranoid at least this side of the ocean. Ie. My mother (age of 75) refuges to use freezer for her cheese (as it doesn't taste anything if cold she says) and it basicly sits on the kitchen desk for a week or two straight at 23 deg.C. Any food official would die from just to know that someone is letting it to get warm.

Quite right too!

I leave my cheese like that for months, but it is a decent truckle of cheddar

I would be more cautious about soft cheeses, especially for those with compromised immune systems (e.g. pregnant women).
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#### cdev

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2017, 01:42:18 AM »
Here in the US they sell sealed containers of "blue ice" which increases thermal mass. If you have a bunch of that in your freezer and turn the temperature down to its minimum setting before the power goes out, assuming it is only seven hours you should be fine.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."

#### Vtile

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2017, 01:53:54 AM »
The food storage hysteria is pretty annoying to be honest, as a hiker and outdoor enthusiast the information is non-existent today, all you can get is is peer / community knowledge at which foods can hold in ambient temperature and how long. Any official information is wothless, because of CYA.

#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #39 on: December 08, 2017, 02:40:07 AM »
... as a hiker and outdoor enthusiast the information is non-existent today, all you can get is is peer / community knowledge at which foods can hold in ambient temperature and how long. ...

The solution is simple: research and understand the physics and (bio)chemistry. Then come up with informed strategies.

"Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food" by Jeff Potter is a good starting point. It goes into some detail about what happens and does not happen to food and pathogens at various temperatures.

As for CYA syndrome, yes it exists but that isn't the main point. People dispensing advice have to be aware that readers may well half understand and/or half remember the advice, and it is prudent for advice givers to take that into account.

The same is true on this forum, e.g. w.r.t. measuring high voltages, isolation transformers, cheap 300mW lasers, etc.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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#### 691175002

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #40 on: December 08, 2017, 02:57:40 AM »
As others have mentioned, it depends on the thermal mass of the contents of your fridge.  If every spare square inch is filled with water or ice you have a very good chance of surviving longer than a day in both the fridge and freezer.

An empty fridge will only stay safe for two or three hours, and if you log its temperature over time the on-off behavior of a fridge thermostat will produce massive under/overshoot.

Under/overshoot is more damaging in a freezer because some foods (ice cream and fish in particular) start to sofen at maybe -10c.  If you fluctuate across that threshold the texture gets destroyed very quickly.

#### Vtile

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2017, 03:04:39 AM »
... as a hiker and outdoor enthusiast the information is non-existent today, all you can get is is peer / community knowledge at which foods can hold in ambient temperature and how long. ...

The solution is simple: research and understand the physics and (bio)chemistry. Then come up with informed strategies.
Errr. I have too many obsess.. hobbies already, can't start to study yet another, that is the reason I pay taxes and state keeps specialists in the payroll.
Quote
"Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food" by Jeff Potter is a good starting point. It goes into some detail about what happens and does not happen to food and pathogens at various temperatures.
I need to get that book it seems...

Quote
As for CYA syndrome, yes it exists but that isn't the main point. People dispensing advice have to be aware that readers may well half understand and/or half remember the advice, and it is prudent for advice givers to take that into account.

The same is true on this forum, e.g. w.r.t. measuring high voltages, isolation transformers, cheap 300mW lasers, etc.
That is why the old books are so nice in many times (No CYA), "The young inventor, circa 1920s, where were "Build and do funny experiments with Ruhmkorff coil" and other safe experiments in physics and chemistry.

#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2017, 03:33:44 AM »
... as a hiker and outdoor enthusiast the information is non-existent today, all you can get is is peer / community knowledge at which foods can hold in ambient temperature and how long. ...

The solution is simple: research and understand the physics and (bio)chemistry. Then come up with informed strategies.
Errr. I have too many obsess.. hobbies already, can't start to study yet another, that is the reason I pay taxes and state keeps specialists in the payroll.
Quote
"Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food" by Jeff Potter is a good starting point. It goes into some detail about what happens and does not happen to food and pathogens at various temperatures.
I need to get that book it seems...

You can probably read excerpts on Amazon, to see if it would actually interest you.

Quote
Quote
As for CYA syndrome, yes it exists but that isn't the main point. People dispensing advice have to be aware that readers may well half understand and/or half remember the advice, and it is prudent for advice givers to take that into account.

The same is true on this forum, e.g. w.r.t. measuring high voltages, isolation transformers, cheap 300mW lasers, etc.
That is why the old books are so nice in many times (No CYA), "The young inventor, circa 1920s, where were "Build and do funny experiments with Ruhmkorff coil" and other safe experiments in physics and chemistry.

I have two such "Boy Electrician" books. One has a chapter giving hints on how to build your X-Ray machine, the other has fun things to do with it. The latter cautions that if your skin becomes red, you are probably using it too much.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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#### Bill158

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2017, 04:16:26 AM »
How new is the fridge?  Mine is a 2012 Maytag with new generation insulation, probably super dense foam?  We have had 7 hour power outages where I live, for routine equipment maintenance, with no problem whatsoever with the internal temp of the unit.  Once we had a 25 hour outage due to power company equipment failure (the infamous PG&E who allowed a San Bruno,CA,USA neighborhood burn down because of poor gas pipeline maintenance).  The power outage started at around 4pm and the power didn't come back until 5 pm the next day.  Temps were above 80 F all night and 100F during the next day.  As a precaution I took 6 whole chickens from the deep freeze and put them into the fridge.  The chickens didn't even start to thaw.  Everything was ok.  Of course don't open and close the door except when necessary.  PG&E did reimburse anyone who filed a claim if they didn't trust any food after the 25 hour outage.  The Courts found PG&E responsible and did fine them for the San Bruno disaster!

Bill

#### Brutte

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2017, 04:31:03 AM »
Unfortunately you cannot extend the freezer's capacity with water/ice. Ice has a serious heat of fusion 334kJ/kg but it chnges state at 0degC. So it will start to melt when all the food is already unfrozen The specific heat of ice is quite low, around 2kJ/kgK so to get a *reasonable 1kWh and staying below -18degC (assuming you set it at -21degC) you would need 600kg of ice. Pointless, do not bother putting a 2L bottle there.

You need a thing that changes state of fusion at below -18degC.
An eutectic solution of 22.4%wt. of NaCl with H2O changes state at -21.2degC.
It has a heat of fusion of 222kJ/kg. To absorb 1kWh you would need 16kg of this stuff.

With fridge it is much easier of course as it pumps out ~5x less heat (with similar volume) than a freezer.

*Lets assume a typical freezer pumps out 1kWh of heat from inside in 24h (COP is around 2 so it eats up 0.5kWh of electricity then).
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 07:03:30 AM by Brutte »

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#### Someone

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2017, 08:30:39 AM »
Almost anything is safe to consume once it has been cooked properly, heck get over 70 degrees Celcius and you too can drink that pint of sewerage:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/Boiling_water_01_15.pdf

That's dangerously ignorant. Botulism kills and bacillus cereus can kill; some toxins are not affected by cooking. There are too many other examples.
Once again I use a very specific example complete with reference and you run off in another direction with nothing more than your opinion and trying to link unrelated facts. But just because you are still posting rubbish there are well respected and learned organisations claim that the Botulinum toxin can be destroyed by appropriate cooking well within normal process windows:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs270/en/
https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/proposals/documents/P296%20Dairy%20PPPS%20FAR%20Attach%202%20FINAL%20-%20mr.pdf
This second link also includes dated outbreaks to show just how rare the events are and extremely detailed discussion of the food safety environment which delivers exceptionally safe food to us. Yes people need to learn what they are doing but I'm just the pushing off point and not giving any specific instructions, but rather links to examples where people can learn more. There are toxins that can be found in food and water sources which cannot be removed with treatment or cooking but people are unlikely to find them unless they intentionally go looking for obviously unpalatable sources.

Bacillus Cereus is not considered a risk for cooked food that is consumed immediately, only for food which is kept warm. Back on dairy products Bacillus Cereus is commonly present but in low enough numbers that the toxicity produced has no effect and the temperatures required to grow significant numbers coincide with other growths which would make the milk unpalatable and/or inhibit the growth of Bacillus Cereus. Milk for human consumption has been left unrefrigerated for centuries and considered a "safe" foodstuff even before the introduction of pasteurization, its much safer today with the extended and tightly controlled cold chain which opens up a larger shelf life for the consumer and ability to store at less ideal temperatures without causing problems.

#### tggzzz

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2017, 10:32:35 AM »
Almost anything is safe to consume once it has been cooked properly, heck get over 70 degrees Celcius and you too can drink that pint of sewerage:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/Boiling_water_01_15.pdf

That's dangerously ignorant. Botulism kills and bacillus cereus can kill; some toxins are not affected by cooking. There are too many other examples.
Once again I use a very specific example complete with reference and you run off in another direction with nothing more than your opinion and trying to link unrelated facts. But just because you are still posting rubbish there are well respected and learned organisations claim that the Botulinum toxin can be destroyed by appropriate cooking well within normal process windows:

You should emphasis the word "can"; that's very important. Given that the toxin is undetectable before ingestion, there's too much of a chance it wouldn't be removed by extended boiling.

I well remember several people being killed in the late 70s by botulism in John West salmon. I remember it because a week later I was at a wedding ceremony where my cousin married one of the John West daughters. Comments were made in one of the speeches!

Quote
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs270/en/
https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/proposals/documents/P296%20Dairy%20PPPS%20FAR%20Attach%202%20FINAL%20-%20mr.pdf
This second link also includes dated outbreaks to show just how rare the events are and extremely detailed discussion of the food safety environment which delivers exceptionally safe food to us. Yes people need to learn what they are doing but I'm just the pushing off point and not giving any specific instructions, but rather links to examples where people can learn more. There are toxins that can be found in food and water sources which cannot be removed with treatment or cooking but people are unlikely to find them unless they intentionally go looking for obviously unpalatable sources.

Bacillus Cereus is not considered a risk for cooked food that is consumed immediately, only for food which is kept warm. Back on dairy products Bacillus Cereus is commonly present but in low enough numbers that the toxicity produced has no effect and the temperatures required to grow significant numbers coincide with other growths which would make the milk unpalatable and/or inhibit the growth of Bacillus Cereus. Milk for human consumption has been left unrefrigerated for centuries and considered a "safe" foodstuff even before the introduction of pasteurization, its much safer today with the extended and tightly controlled cold chain which opens up a larger shelf life for the consumer and ability to store at less ideal temperatures without causing problems.

Again you are ignorant.

Up until the 1930s milk was known to be one of the more dangerous things you would be likely to eat. Common problems were TB, addition of "flowers of sulphur"  to disguise that it was going off, and brucellosis.

In the 1970s a relative of mine in the south of the UK was ill for over a year, and they were about to remove lymph nodes (for no good reason, but that's a different story). They finally diagnosed the problem: brucellosis from "green top" milk (for the avoidance of doubt, "green top" != semi-skimmed. Google images take note!)

Nobody in their right mind drinks cold milk in India; it is OK in hot coffee or chai, of course.
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#### Nusa

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2017, 12:37:24 PM »
The more cold mass in the fridge, the longer it will last. If there is time to chill bottles of water before the outage starts, do so. If there isn't time, don't. There's a limit to how much a fridge can cool over time, so don't overdo it.

Before the outage: Try to eat the whatever is most likely to spoil first.
During the outage: If at all possible, do NOT OPEN THE DOORS. At all! You can drink water without ice instead of grabbing your favorite whatever. 7 hours shouldn't be that bad.

#### Someone

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2017, 12:53:02 PM »
Almost anything is safe to consume once it has been cooked properly, heck get over 70 degrees Celcius and you too can drink that pint of sewerage:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/Boiling_water_01_15.pdf

That's dangerously ignorant. Botulism kills and bacillus cereus can kill; some toxins are not affected by cooking. There are too many other examples.
Once again I use a very specific example complete with reference and you run off in another direction with nothing more than your opinion and trying to link unrelated facts. But just because you are still posting rubbish there are well respected and learned organisations claim that the Botulinum toxin can be destroyed by appropriate cooking well within normal process windows:

You should emphasis the word "can"; that's very important. Given that the toxin is undetectable before ingestion, there's too much of a chance it wouldn't be removed by extended boiling.
Quote from: World Health Organisation
Though spores of C. botulinum are heat-resistant, the toxin produced by bacteria growing out of the spores under anaerobic conditions is destroyed by boiling (for example, at internal temperature greater than 85 °C for 5 minutes or longer). Therefore, ready-to-eat foods in low oxygen-packaging are more frequently involved in cases of foodborne botulism.
Which is in direct contradiction to your suggestion that "toxins are not affected by cooking" (your emphasis not mine), then you dig in and try to draw some argument back out to unspecified toxins. The Botulinum toxin is readily destroyed with normal cooking processes. I've framed that so specifically about the Botulinum toxin but you still run off on tangents.

Up until the 1930s milk was known to be one of the more dangerous things you would be likely to eat. Common problems were TB, addition of "flowers of sulphur"  to disguise that it was going off, and brucellosis.
Adulterants are not a concern in the current food chain, so why bring them up now? You're just scrambling for any possible foothold.

Nobody in their right mind drinks cold milk in India; it is OK in hot coffee or chai, of course.
So its not good to drink cold but ok when warmed? Please do explain what the difference is there because so far you've gone out of your way to say that heating is not the solution. I'd suggest that warmed (but not boiled) milk products are in fact the most risky option and would rather drink it cold (still preferable to much of the tap water if untreated).

#### Red Squirrel

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##### Re: How long does a modern fridge stay "cold enough"?
« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2017, 08:01:27 PM »
Given it's middle of winter just put your stuff in some containers or coolers and put it outside if you're worried.

But think 7 hours you'll be fine, Just make sure any raw meat is in the freezer, that would be the only thing I'd be worried about, but if it's frozen then it will be fine I'd say.

One trick with freezers is to put water in a small container and let it freeze, then put an object on top.  If ever you find that the object is inside the ice it means at some point the freezer unthawed.

Smf