My turn: Unopened tofu in warm/hot car all day. Edible?
June 10, 2018 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Yes, I’m using my ‘can I eat this’ coupon. I purchased tofu from the produce section (plastic container, cool, not refrigerated), left it in my car during the pretty warm day (high 70’s) and a cool night (mid 40’s) . Put it in the fridge this morning. All in all, about 22 hours. Never opened. Safe to eat or do I trash it? Thank you.
posted by MountainDaisy to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would not eat that. Too warm for too long. Pitch it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:50 AM on June 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Unless it's tetrapacked, shelf-stable tofu (which sounds unlikely but not absolutely impossible given your description), I would toss it.
posted by snaw at 8:52 AM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: DO NOT EAT
posted by obfuscation at 8:54 AM on June 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

The USDA would say to ditch it. Their guidelines are by design highly conservative.

But I, personally, would consider eating it after cooking it well, provided that it looks/smells fine, and has normal texture. In my experience it's easy to tell when tofu is bad. I also regularly flout the USDA danger zone, and plan to someday write a blog about living entirely off of food they would say to throw out, so.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:56 AM on June 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Granted it was about 48 hours ...but we still have rotten tofu smell in our trunk from a forgotten closed package. Absolutely not. It may also already smell. Toss it.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:07 AM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I say to open it up and give a good sniff. Any slight pungency? Anything slightly slimy? Anything that looks remotely pink? If not, it might still be ok, but I still probably wouldn't eat it (unless I was desperate for tofu. Which is a thing.)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:18 AM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tofu costs like $2 and this has undeniably been in the food danger zone for 6+ hours. I would personally toss it.
posted by samthemander at 9:28 AM on June 10, 2018 [16 favorites]

If it smells okay, you could try a small portion, well cooked, see how you feel for half a day or so. Most bad food will declare itself promptly, some things may take 12 hours, etc. Foods that were sealed while hot tend to be pretty safe. IANAFood Scientist, my grocery is an annoying drive away, so if I needed it, I would try it.
posted by theora55 at 9:33 AM on June 10, 2018

Beware of the "just cook it well" advice. It doesn't matter how "well" you cook it, you're not going to kill the toxins that are already in the food. You might kill the bacteria that created the toxins, but the things that are going to make you sick are still there.

This is what we were taught in our food sanitation classes in culinary school, and I've had the same instruction from the health departments of several cities I've lived and worked in as a cook.
posted by ralan at 9:46 AM on June 10, 2018 [10 favorites]

And as ever, please remember that not smelling bad doesn't mean it's safe. The bacteria that make old food smell putrid are not the same ones that will give you food poisoning. They grow in similar conditions, so smelling bad also means it's reasonable to assume that there could be food poison causing bacteria there as well, but smelling fine does not equal safe.
posted by Candleman at 9:52 AM on June 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I come from a culture where tofu is a staple food, and I say toss it.
posted by research monkey at 10:09 AM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ask me about my food poisoning experience involving tofu. Actually don’t because it’s gross af. Toss it!
posted by Mouse Army at 10:28 AM on June 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Noooooo , throw that out
posted by Fig at 10:29 AM on June 10, 2018

Tofu is inexpensive. Toss it out and buy fresh.
posted by 41swans at 10:31 AM on June 10, 2018

Honestly, that sounds horrifying. Haha. I would toss.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:49 AM on June 10, 2018

Yeah, tofu is cheap. To the trash can with it!
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2018

We have had bad ... experiences from bad tofu. Please throw it away.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 11:59 AM on June 10, 2018

I'm a penny pincher. I've drunk Nile water. I generally go by sight and scent, not by expiry dates. I cut mold off of cheese.

And I would not eat your tofu.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:09 PM on June 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all. I had a slightly disappointing, but ultimately safer lunch.
posted by MountainDaisy at 2:45 PM on June 10, 2018

I read this and wanted to gag. I do not usually have a strong opinion on these questions much less a physical one. Bye bye tofu RIP.
posted by kitten magic at 3:46 PM on June 10, 2018

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