Would you eat it? Plated edition.
January 19, 2017 6:43 PM   Subscribe

I ordered a Plated delivery that was supposed to arrive on Wednesday and they say the food is good in its box until midnight on the delivery date. Well, my package got delayed and arrived at 6pm on Thursday.

The food comes in a carboard box with two filled frozen packs that covered the bottom of the box -- both were still frozen solid -- and the box was lined with an insulation that appeared to be cardboard and paper bits in plastic. The food arrived sort of cold, but not as cold as in a fridge, obviously.

The food didn't appear to be ruined -- I have not yet opened everything up and given a thorough inspection -- but items of note that I am not sure if I should worry about:
• raw pizza dough
• (very soft) burrata cheese
• ball of mozzarella cheese
• (semi-slimy) pre-cubed butter squash
• arugula
• dinosaur kale
• bok choy

I'm not sure if there's anything I should toss out of an abundance of caution or not. So, it's time for everyone's favorite game: Would. You. Eat it?! My gastrointestinal system thanks you in advance.
posted by AppleTurnover to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Really, you'd throw out everything? The box also contained carrots, bell peppers, peas and a little side cup of pesto, but I figured those would be fine to use still so I didn't mention them.

There were a couple of oranges and some ginger slices that look to be in bruised shape, so I was planning on tossing those. But thought I'd ask here before I request a refund. Thanks!
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:53 PM on January 19, 2017

Since the frozen packs were still frozen solid I'd just go for it. YMMV.
posted by crazy with stars at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I would be worried about the burrata and slimy squash plus if the dough gets warm, the yeast will have already started to rise so it won't work right in the recipe. But do request a refund since you won't be able to make the meal that they sent you.
posted by metahawk at 6:56 PM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd have measured the internal temp of the food items with a thermometer immediately after opening to see if it's in the safe zone, provided the outside temp isn't cold enough to refreeze things where you are. At this point it's too late to know.
posted by TheAdamist at 7:03 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would not toss hardly any of it and would make and eat it. Yeast doughs need a little warmth to proof anyway, and a little overproofing is fine if not ideal; cheese is quite tolerant of temperature rises, and I can't imagine why the arugula or kale or bok choy would go bad after a few hours out of ideal refrigeration - we see them at farmers markets, sitting in boxes out of refrigeration for hours and hours and then take them home and eat them, you know? Bruised ginger is fine if it smells and feels fine - you'd want to be giving it a few whacks with the back of a blade anyway to bruise pieces before you add them to a dish, to help release the flavor.

The squash...Squash should just never be slimy. That just seems wrong.
posted by rtha at 7:19 PM on January 19, 2017

I don't own a food thermometer.

I will say, I've gotten cubed squash before, and even with proper delivery, it looked a little slimy. I assume cutting it up releases moisture so it's to be expected. But the thought of it not being cold enough for about 18 hours longer than it's supposed to is what concerned me.

Some of the ingredients I got were wet, and I wasn't sure what it was, but now I'm noticing that where I placed the stuff down on the counter, there's a white residue. I'm thinking maybe the burrata leaked or something. That is nudging me closer to the "toss it" camp.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2017

Eighteen hours beyond the food safety commitment? I'd toss it while feeling really bad about food waste. I'm normally on team Eat-It, but eighteen hours is pushing it.

Also, get yourself a food thermometer. It makes getting proteins perfectly cooked really easy (and you'll never overcook anything because the alarm will go off when the food hits temperature). Of everything in my kitchen, it might be the one tool I use nearly every time I cook.
posted by 26.2 at 7:55 PM on January 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

I forgot about a Blue Apron box at work and it was outside for about 12 hours, in Florida, and I believe it had pork and turkey in it, and I cooked and ate them, and here I am today to tell the tale. I would definitely do the same with your box!
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:22 PM on January 19, 2017

None of this food is likely to be actually spoiled. It's not as if the food was at room temperature for 18 hours -- the freezer packs are still frozen solid.

The burrata is the one item that is a bit iffy. Personally, I'd probably cut it open and give it the sniff test to see if the cream seems sour. But I wouldn't fault you for tossing it.

If the squash seems like it's an unpalatable texture, toss it. It won't hurt you, but cut vegetables really don't age very well. (Likewise, the smooshed oranges won't hurt you, the texture might just be kind of meh. Just cut the bruises off of the ginger if they bother you. )

The mozzarella ball, how was it packaged? If it's wrapped in sealed plastic, or stored in oil or brine or whey, it is fine. Mozz is stored at room temperature during business hours at damn near every cheese shop and Italian speciality grocer in Philadelphia.

The ingredients of pizza dough are flour, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil. There is nothing about that that will spoil in a day at room temperature. Or warmer.

Unless the kale, bok choy, and arugula are sour-smelling and slimy, they're fine. They keep longer in the fridge than on the counter, but they don't need to be held at refrigerator-temperatures at all times to be safe to eat. (I grow such vegetables and often wind up with a sudden! large! harvest! I am very, very familiar with the conditions under which they will rot.)
posted by desuetude at 8:36 PM on January 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

FWIW, the ice packs are on the bottom. That they are cold/frozen doesn't mean that all the food in the box was kept at the correct temp. The fact that the bottom of the box was appropriately cold give everything a thumbs up.
posted by 26.2 at 9:28 PM on January 19, 2017

(Unless the pizza dough has risen so much that it has busted out of its little bag or however it's packaged, it is not overproofed. In fact, its flavor will be improved.)
posted by desuetude at 9:32 PM on January 19, 2017

I used a meal delivery competitor and was distraught when UPS did not deliver my package as scheduled. I called the company wanting a new one sent thinking everything would be ruined. The told me my food (all of it - meat included) would be fine the next day. Due to shipping times, some customers who either opt to receive their food later in the week or who live farther from the shipping origin will get their packages on the second day of shipping, anyway. All that is to say - they put a lot of thought into packing your food in a safe and durable way.
posted by rubster at 1:21 AM on January 20, 2017

I'd eat everything but I'd also ask for a refund from Plated. The food subscription services are usually pretty good at this & want to know if the deliveries get messed up so they can take it up with the delivery service. They'll most likely give you a box free or if you can get some meals out of it a pro rata refund. Cheese is made to preserve foods so can last a little while without the super cold of a fridge, the dough may have over proved but is probably still fine if cool & veggies keep fine in the cool & I often keep all the veggies you mentioned on my counter when my garden has gone crazy, The one thing I'd hesitate on might be the squash as it's cut up & maybe the burata more because it will be past it's prime than have gone bad. Give it the sniff test if it smells like rotten milk dump it.
posted by wwax at 9:03 AM on January 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did get a refund. I feel a little bad, since not all of it was bad, but I threw out the burrata to be safe and there is also some heavy cream I didn't notice that I am going to toss just to be safe. I'll probably toss the squash as well. The dough didn't rise and looks fine, so I might use it, although I'll have to make something different now.

My experience with meal kit services have generally been pretty great. I'm a big fan of Hello Fresh and I use Plated sometimes too. I'm more upset with the carrier that delayed the delivery. I'll order from Plated again, if not for no reason other than guilt.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:37 AM on January 20, 2017

Did you smell the cream? Because if it doesn't smell off, it's fine. I've accidentally left heavy cream out overnight in conditions likely warmer than an insulated box with still-frozen cold packs in it and there's been nothing wrong with it.
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2017

I've gotten cubed squash before, and even with proper delivery, it looked a little slimy

Ew. I buy cubed squash at Costco, and it's not slimy.
posted by yohko at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2017

A food thermometer will solve this problem for you in the future. Since I live in S. Floriduh, I always temp checked my boxes/individual items when they arrive. I've actually quit using any service because none of them could consistently package the food so it arrived at the correct temperature. Even on days when I accepted delivery directly from the driver, temps were often in the 50-65F range and nope, convenience is not worth 24 hours of intestinal doom.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:20 AM on January 21, 2017

« Older Flaky pressure cooker   |   I'm, still annoyed, but don't want to be Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.