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  #1  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:04 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Juice can spoil if left out for an hour? (need answer fast)

I'm having an argument with a coworker about the speed of spoilage

About 4 hours ago, I brought a container of orange juice and apple juice to work and set it out for a little breakfast thing we're having. It's still out there, still cool to the touch, and I have no plans on refrigerating it until I bring it home in 5 hours. My coworker says, and I quote "Even if you leave orange juice out for an hour it can go bad!" We're in an air conditioned office and the juice isn't out in the sun

I think he's nuts, but who's right? It's just juice, not like it's meat or fish. It'll get lukewarm, but not dangerous, right?

Even if spoilage does begin after an hour, how much danger are we really talking about here? I mean, with all food no matter when it was prepared, there's a chance of something bad in it, that's just life. If spoilage occurs, but doesn't become a serious threat until, let's say, 24 hours later, I think I'm justified in keeping it out there a few hours. He doesn't have to drink it and nobody else is making a fuss about it
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:13 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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I'm no expert or anything but I'd imagine serious danger is well more than an hour away. Is it in an open-top pitcher or something or is it in a carton or a gallon jug with a screw top?
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:27 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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It's like a half-gallon jug with a screw top, the kind you'd get at any supermarket. The apple juice is from Totts, or Motts, and the orange is Simply Orange!
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:30 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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I'd drink it.
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:31 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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There's a rule of thumb in food safety that nothing should be in the "temperature danger zone" between 40 F and 140 F for more than an hour. However it's an extremely conservative rule, which keeps the most vulnerable people safe even with slightly contaminated food. I.e. great-grandma should be safe eating potato salad kept at room temperature for an hour even if it was prepared by a careless nursing home kitchen worker who didn't wash his hands.

In all likelihood your juice should be fine. It's probably pasteurized (though not sterile), still sealed, and fairly cool even after a few hours. Juice is also pretty acidic, which further slows bacterial growth. You're only really putting your co-workers at risk if the juice was contaminated by the producer; or if it was improperly refrigerated for long periods of time during any point.

I'd also drink it, without a second thought.

Last edited by lazybratsche; 01-06-2011 at 02:32 PM..
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  #6  
Old 01-06-2011, 02:35 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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Yes, your coworker is nuts.

From a citable, factual standpoint, according to the "Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education" OJ should be discarded after spending 2 hours at room temperature but IMHO as long as the top gets replaced after ever use and no one drinks directly out of the jug, I wouldn't have any qualms about having a drink of it for at least 5 - 6 hours.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:08 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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In my experience the way such juices "go bad" is they ferment. The taste goes off some with a bit of bite from the alcohol. Probably takes closer to a week than an hour.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:16 PM
kapri kapri is offline
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That orange juice would go bad after being out an hour would never even cross my mind.

I rarely follow these kinds of rules and I have the constitution of a--I don't know, I have an iron stomach? I do get grossed out by meat and dairy products that have been left out or in the fridge too long, though. But OJ? No way.
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  #9  
Old 01-06-2011, 03:26 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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I think of this sort of thing in terms of the typical 5-second rule: it entirely depends on what it is. Just like I'd pick up and eat a cracker dropped on the kitchen floor but not a slice of bologna, I'd readily drink OJ that's been out for several hours but wouldn't go near sashimi that's been sitting out all day.
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2011, 03:33 PM
Munch Munch is online now
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I agree with your coworker. How else do you explain why citrus orchards have to be kept refrigerated at all times?
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  #11  
Old 01-06-2011, 03:39 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
I agree with your coworker. How else do you explain why citrus orchards have to be kept refrigerated at all times?
This was exactly my thought heh.

Plus, with juice, you can tell pretty quickly if it's gone bad or not with a single light sniff.
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2011, 03:40 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
From a citable, factual standpoint, according to the "Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education" OJ should be discarded after spending 2 hours at room temperature..
However, they give no reason for such a standard, which seems very conservative to me.

As has been said, fruit juices mostly go "bad" by fermenting. (Of course, if you are making wine or hard cider this is a good thing.) This is usually a matter of days rather than hours. In any case, the main problem will be the taste, not toxicity.

Personally I would have no problem drinking OJ that had been out at room temperature much of the day.
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  #13  
Old 01-06-2011, 04:35 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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If you're not gonna drink it, I will.
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2011, 01:58 AM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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If it was me, I'd tell your colleague that he's absolutely correct, but that it doesn't matter, he shouldn't drink it anyway because attempting to swallow liquids can cause choking. Even if he doesn't choke, it might make him need to pee later on, and people can slip and fall in the bathroom. Then I'd ask him if he feels safe standing around without a helmet, when it is entirely possible for a meteorite to crash through the ceiling and hit him on the head.

I'm a bit of a smart-ass, though.
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2011, 04:01 AM
EvilTOJ EvilTOJ is offline
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Orange juice won't spoil, it'll ferment. The absolute worst that'd happen is it would taste like a really bad screwdriver with some bread mold thrown on top, and that'd take at least a week. It's not dangerous at all, orange juice isn't a good medium for botulism.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2011, 05:22 PM
RedSwinglineOne RedSwinglineOne is offline
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I would agree with those that say OJ sitting out for several hours should still be good to drink. I think the thing to watch out for is that you cannot just put it back in the fridge after being out for several hours and pretend nothing happened.

Bacteria reproduce exponentially. That means their numbers increase slowly at first, but much more quickly later on. Food in general won't likely go bad after a few hours at room temp, but the bacteria have had time to get a pretty good start, and even though their reproduction slows in the fridge, it will go bad much sooner than it would have otherwise. I think that is why those guidelines say OJ should be discarded after two hours. It's not that it is bad after two hours, it is that it can no longer counted on to be safe as long as it could have before.
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