Walking back into my dorm to my roommate was such a great feeling. It was nice to be back into the typical routine and seeing our cozy room the way we had left it. The one thing that disturbed me, though, was a strange odor lingering. I checked the garbage which was empty as I had suspected, but as soon as I was in the vicinity of the refrigerator, i gagged (literally). The two of us opened the door to the fridge part and saw mold infested jars and drinks. Milk, cream cheese, pasta sauce, yogurt–everything was thrown out. The thing reeked (it still does). How could we be so stupid to unplug our fridge?! Major Freshman rookie move. *Insert insults here*
But it didn’t end there, the freezer was even worse. Ice cream had spilt over and spoiled, making our room smell like cheese and/or a dead body. Horrific. It still smells, despite cleaning it multiple times and putting baking soda in it. Now to the point, how long does it take for food to spoil and why does it smell so foul?
Since most of the products that got disturbingly rotten were dairy, I decided to start my search of how long Milk lasts outside the fridge. This website explains the FDA guidelines to dairy consumption after it being out in various temperatures. Milk is only consumable outside the fridge (or in a temperature over 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for only two hours. I found that pretty shocking, it can’t even last a day?! (Makes our 10 day milk and ice cream situation seem even more horrifying.) Likewise, if milk is left in a 90 degree area, it will only take an hour before having to toss it. Keep this in mind if you ever leave milk out on the counter on accident!
I’m sure it wasn’t just the dairy that stunk up our fridge, and I’m sure it wasn’t just the food that did it all itself. This article states that most of the scents on our rotten food consist of spoiled microbes. These include bacteria, yeast and mold. Some scientists suggest (but it is not proven) that microbes create these scents so that they can take over and consume the food and frighten humans away from it. Interesting theory, but who knows if it will ever be proved. And while some foods go back and stink, some may go bad and have no smell at all. This does not mean it’s safe to drink/eat. Likewise, milk for example can stink but not yet be spoiled, so pay attention to expiration dates and temperature the product is and needs to be stored at.
If anyone has any other tips to get the smell out of our fridge, please let me know!! I’m desperate.