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Can I eat this, delayed FedEx meat shipment edition
April 8, 2014 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I had a shipment of frozen meat that was delayed by bad weather last week in Memphis. It was shipped on Thursday frozen in a styrofoam box to be delivered on Friday. Thanks to a weather delay, I didn't get it until Monday evening. The box sat in a truck in the local FedEx parking lot all day Saturday and Sunday (and probably most of Friday also).

When I opened the box, the pork tenderloin on top had thawed (and leaked blood throughout the shipment where the shrink-wrap had torn); temperature readings with an IR thermometer varied between 45 and 50F. The steaks in the middle were cold and partially frozen, and the fish was thawed but still cold. The ground beef on the bottom, however, had also thawed and had temperature readings between 45 and 50F (and had also leaked blood from torn shrink-wrap). I really have no idea how long it was in that temperature range, as it spent the weekend in a FedEx truck (apparently in an unshaded parking lot) and sat on my front steps for several hours before I got home.

I think the steak and fish are safe to eat, but the pork and ground beef seem iffy. This USDA site says not to eat anything more than 2 hrs above 40F, which seems to rule out the pork and beef.

It has all gone into the freezer immediately after opening (except the fish, which is in the fridge).
posted by fogovonslack to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would absolutely not eat this.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 12:14 PM on April 8 [18 favorites]

No, and anything previously salvageable is now not edible because you've re-frozen thawed food. I am very sorry, but just... no.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:16 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty fearless when it comes to eating things that are left out, but there's no way in hell I'd even try this.
posted by bfranklin at 12:17 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]

Have you spoken to the merchant about getting a replacement order?
posted by Violet Femme at 12:18 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]

you're asking the wrong question, it isn't "can i eat this?" but "should i have to?" the answer to the right question is, of course, "fuck no."
posted by bruce at 12:28 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

Call the vendor, as they may have insurance for this. There are a lot of things I would eat, and I might personally take my chances on the steak if I didn't have any big plans, but no, none of the rest is even considerable.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:34 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

Ask for a re-shipment. It shouldn't be on you to swallow the cost. No pun intended.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 12:35 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]

Definitely contact the vendor for a replacement; they should have insurance with FedEx for just this type of situation.
posted by vignettist at 12:36 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]

Anytime I've had something perishable delivered via Fed-Ex / UPS the vendor ate the cost of any shipping delay.
posted by COD at 12:47 PM on April 8

No, and anything previously salvageable is now not edible because you've re-frozen thawed food.

There's nothing inherently toxic about re-freezing thawed food. Nevertheless, I would not eat any of this.
posted by jon1270 at 12:53 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]

The vac bag should NEVER have torn, especially if the item was thawing out, but either way.

The vac bag is supposed to protect the product!!

Call and get it resent. Yep, there is insurance on this and it's no big deal.

Good Luck!!
posted by jbenben at 12:57 PM on April 8

Nope, don't eat it.

If you purchased with a credit card, you may have insurance, or as others have suggested, call the vendor for a replenishment.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:11 PM on April 8

I emailed the vendor when I found out it wouldn't get here on time, and they said to see what kind of shape it was in when it got here ("we remain optimistic about the contents of your shipment"). They also claimed to have had shipments that took a week to arrive and were fine. They didn't flat-out refuse to re-ship, but they didn't offer, either, saying that FedEx won't pay claims due to weather delays. They also said, "Meat has to be at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours before spoiling starts to occur that would pose a health risk." Still waiting for a reply from today's email apprising them of the condition on opening.
posted by fogovonslack at 1:30 PM on April 8

it's a fatally compromised shipment. "we remain optimistic about the contents of your shipment" is just corporate blather. demand a reshipment or refund within 24 hours or you'll charge back your card, paint them on yelp, etc.
posted by bruce at 1:44 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

"Meat has to be at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours before spoiling starts to occur that would pose a health risk."

Which neatly sidesteps the fact that you've got several meals' worth of meat, most likely meant to be consumed over several days. Even if it's technically edible at the moment you unwrapped it, because it was warm for a while it will all spoil much sooner than it would have otherwise even if you resume refrigeration.

Insist on replacement.
posted by jon1270 at 1:45 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]

I work in food distribution. I can tell you that we have customers who will take just about anything, but they all uniformly refuse anything that has a busted bag. The second that cryovac burst, it was over with. Just toss it all and ask for a reship.
posted by haplesschild at 2:06 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]

Cease doing business with this vendor. Do not accept a replacement - only a refund will suffice. This is not the way a company concerned with the physical well being of its customers conducts itself.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:48 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]

Did they ship with dry ice? Was there still dry ice left in the container? If the answer is no to either of those, I'd say hell no I'm not eating that, especially if you temp'ed the foods over 40 degrees. Remember, you don't know how long they were at that temperature, and I imagine it's pretty likely that it was longer than 2 or 4 hours.

If they don't do a refund, definitely charge them back. That they would advise you to eat it anyway is irresponsible in the extreme.
posted by Aleyn at 11:59 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]

Thanks, y'all. Didn't eat and I have requested refund, but still no response to yesterday's email sent just before I started this thread, so I'm not terribly hopeful. Will contact credit card soon if I don't hear anything.
posted by fogovonslack at 10:57 AM on April 9

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