PDA

View Full Version : Metal in the fridge?


omnivorousgod
10-05-2005, 09:24 PM
One of my roommates told me that it is hazardous to put metal in the refrigerator. Does this make sense, or should I smack him with a nicely chilled spoon spatula?

omnivorousgod
10-05-2005, 09:26 PM
*spatula

Q.E.D.
10-05-2005, 09:26 PM
Smack him. Have you looked in many 'fridges lately? There's lots of metal already in there, from wire racks to hinges to icemakers. Beer cans are metal, too, in case your buddy hadn't noticed.

Napier
10-05-2005, 09:33 PM
What he heard was that it is hazardous to put your middle in the fridge. It can make you frigid.

'Course, there's also the issue that some metal containers leach things into foods or otherwise react with them. There was the aluminum container and Alzheimer's thing a few years ago (which I think got debunked). And there's the galvanic reaction problem when you have a metal bowl with a metal spoon in it, the two being metals with different electrochemical potentials. Finally, acidic foods eat some metals.

But this would be storing food with metals, not putting metals in the fridge. The association perhaps stems from storing foods in the fridge.

omnivorousgod
10-05-2005, 09:43 PM
correction: his original concern was more accurately about storing foods in metal containers in the fridge.

Scarlett67
10-05-2005, 09:45 PM
correction: his original concern was more accurately about storing foods in metal containers in the fridge.
I say smack him, as you holler "CITE!"

Q.E.D.
10-05-2005, 09:50 PM
correction: his original concern was more accurately about storing foods in metal containers in the fridge.
In that case, it depends on the metal. Lead? Definitely not good. Aluminum? Maybe bad, maybe not (see Napier's post). Stainless steel? No problem.

Mangetout
10-05-2005, 09:50 PM
We were given this instruction in a professional food hygiene course I recently attended; the reasoning was that metals in contact with food can corrode and cause contamination; Personally, I think this risk is largely imaginary and I can't for the life of me imagine why it is specifically presented as a danger in the fridge - where the temperature and therefore rate of chemical reaction is reduced.

I suppose if you left a silver-plated fork in a tin of food, there could be some kind of galvanic process from the two different metals and the food as an electrolyte, but... I dunno.

silenus
10-05-2005, 09:52 PM
Ask him if he has seen the foil pans of lasagna at the grocery store. In the refrigerated section.

*smack!*

Squink
10-05-2005, 10:14 PM
We were given this instruction in a professional food hygiene course I recently attended; the reasoning was that metals in contact with food can corrode and cause contamination; Personally, I think this risk is largely imaginary and I can't for the life of me imagine why it is specifically presented as a danger in the fridge - where the temperature and therefore rate of chemical reaction is reduced.
Storing tomato products, or any acid food, in aluminum containers in the fridge, or not, can cause problems. I've had delivery pizza eat holes in aluminum foil after two days in a fridge. Cheap, bare aluminum pots can likewise quickly become pitted.
Cast iron might have similar, if less severe, problems.

MaryEFoo
10-06-2005, 01:59 AM
It turns out that putting the mayonnaise jar in the fridge with a (cheap silver-plated IIR) spoon in it results in a highly corroded spoon and a lot of wierd green/brown mayo, within very few days.

Also if you leave a tin can half-full for X days, you see corrosion on the inside of the can, especially at the edge of the food.

How dangerous this is I have no idea.

CynicalGabe
10-06-2005, 03:03 AM
I think the origin of his statement is that you should not put anything acidic in aluminum containers or pans. This can result in contamination (bad).

Things that are highly acidic are best put in plastic containers.

-CynicalGabe
Former Institutional Chef and SafeServ Certifed person

Fromage A Trois
10-06-2005, 08:19 AM
The Master speaks (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_121a.html).

It seems as well that it's nothing to do with the refrigerator. It would happen if you were to use aluminium foil on something acidic and leave it on the kitchen table, or in the garden, or down the back of the sofa. It's just that the fridge is where you keep this sort of thing.

In fact, the fridge probably slows the process down a bit, as most reactions like this take place more swiftly the warmer they are.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-06-2005, 08:41 AM
I suspect that he is confusing refrigerators & microwave ovens.

Philster
10-06-2005, 09:01 AM
Just exactly what would happen if your food touched "corrosion" (aka a little rust)?

Anyway, my wife can't stand when I pop open a can of chick peas, or olives and then opt to leave the leftover in the cans, covered with wrap and placed in fridge. She tells me I shouldn't. I say, "Why?", and then she insults me, getting off topic.

vetbridge
10-06-2005, 09:54 AM
<hijack>
Never store ether in a refrigerator. At several labs, ether was stored in a refrigerator (it should be stored in a cool place) resulting in explosion when the compressor kicked on and producedd a spark. Note that explosion proof refrigerators do exist for this reason. I have also heard that banannas should not be stored in the refrigerator.;)

Cite: http://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/NewsAndStories/RefrigStories.htm

http://www.wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_158810_A_Explosion-Proof+Refrigerator

cornflakes
10-06-2005, 10:41 AM
vetbridge, storing bananas in the refrigerator will not cause an explosion. Cite (http://www.dole.com/CompanyInfo/Contact/HelpDesk_FreshFruit.jsp#8)

:smack::smack::smack: Wait, I meant that storing bananas in the fridge is ok but will slow their ripening.

Mangetout
10-06-2005, 10:45 AM
Just exactly what would happen if your food touched "corrosion" (aka a little rust)?If it was iron rust, it would probably be good for you, although it might not taste or look nice. If it was oxides/hydroxides/salts of another metal, such as aluminium, copper or tin, it might not be so good.

Chefguy
10-06-2005, 11:08 AM
What he heard was that it is hazardous to put your middle in the fridge. It can make you frigid.



I'm pretty sure that what he meant was that you shouldn't test your mettle in the fridge: there's no room to swing an axe in there.

Dag Otto
10-06-2005, 11:22 AM
It turns out that putting the mayonnaise jar in the fridge with a (cheap silver-plated IIR) spoon in it results in a highly corroded spoon and a lot of wierd green/brown mayo, within very few days.

So how did it taste?

vetbridge
10-06-2005, 11:56 AM
vetbridge, storing bananas in the refrigerator will not cause an explosion. Cite (http://www.dole.com/CompanyInfo/Contact/HelpDesk_FreshFruit.jsp#8)

:smack::smack::smack: Wait, I meant that storing bananas in the fridge is ok but will slow their ripening.

:D http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mbanana.html

vetbridge
10-06-2005, 12:04 PM
As I am reading this thread, I am having some Nutella on crackers. In bold print on the jar it says, "DO NOT REFRIGERATE".

From: http://www.nutellausa.com/faqs.htm
Do not refrigerate Nutella or it will be difficult to spread.

Slithy Tove
10-06-2005, 12:10 PM
One of my roommates told me that it is hazardous to put metal

So it was for your protection that he drank up your six pack?

CynicalGabe
10-06-2005, 01:01 PM
Putting the bananas in the fridge will result in their becoming very ripe very fast, past the point of when most people would want to eat them. This is fine if you want to make banana bread, however.

Smeghead
10-06-2005, 01:05 PM
I would avoid storing any cream-based sauces in containers made of uranium.

Level3Navigator
10-06-2005, 02:57 PM
Putting the bananas in the fridge will result in their becoming very ripe very fast, past the point of when most people would want to eat them. This is fine if you want to make banana bread, however.

No, the peel will darken so it will look very ripe, but the fruit that you eat will still be very firm and ripen slowly, much slower than if you left them on the counter top.

CynicalGabe
10-06-2005, 03:07 PM
No, the peel will darken so it will look very ripe, but the fruit that you eat will still be very firm and ripen slowly, much slower than if you left them on the counter top.

I know thats what Cecil says, but I beg to differ from personal experience with large quantities of bananas - I don't know if the amount of them in an enclosed space makes a difference? Buildup of nitrogen?

Jake
10-06-2005, 03:22 PM
As I am reading this thread, I am having some Nutella on crackers. In bold print on the jar it says, "DO NOT REFRIGERATE".

From: http://www.nutellausa.com/faqs.htm
Same with peanut butter.

Level3Navigator
10-06-2005, 04:04 PM
I know thats what Cecil says, but I beg to differ from personal experience with large quantities of bananas - I don't know if the amount of them in an enclosed space makes a difference? Buildup of nitrogen?

That certainly could be possible. It sounds like a good experiment: Buy one bunch of bananas, put half the bunch in the fridge, leave the other half on the counter top. As soon as the countertop bananas have a nice black skin, test the softness of both fruits. Which will be firmer?

My experience has always been what Cecil said, so perhaps it is a case of our individual fridge temps / location / etc. Perhaps we need a very large bunch of bananas place in strategic spots thoughout the fridge. Sounds like a good science fair experiment for a kid. Any takers?

kunilou
10-06-2005, 04:10 PM
[old fart hat/ON] For decades refrigerators came straight from the factory with metal ice trays. The fact that you see plastic ice trays these days is because they're cheaper, not because of any problem with metal. [old fart hat/OFF]

vetbridge
10-06-2005, 04:29 PM
I know thats what Cecil says, but I beg to differ from personal experience with large quantities of bananas

Are we talking metric tons of bananas? How exactly does one get "personal experience" with large quantities of bananas?

:D

CynicalGabe
10-06-2005, 09:11 PM
Are we talking metric tons of bananas? How exactly does one get "personal experience" with large quantities of bananas?

:D

I mean on the scale of cases.

And... you don't wan't to know.

Fridgemagnet
10-07-2005, 07:47 AM
omnivorousgod, I believe your housemate is referring to tin cans, and is sound advice from back in the days when the tin lining was in contact with the food.

Tin has two allotropes - stable 'white' tin above 13 degrees Celcius, and reactive, powdery "grey" tin that starts forming at prolonged exposures below 13 C. This will poison the food.

Dented tin cans are also dodgy, as simultaneous exposure (due to damage) of the tin and steel elements in contact with watery gunk will produce electrolytic corrosion and lots of toxic salts.

The question is: Do tin can manufacturers still use tin to line steel cans? I've a feeling there may be a plastic film layer between the steel and the food now, but the insides of tin cans still seem to be that golden tin colour.