Like, if I had a bottle of milk with a screw top. Does that really need to go in the fridge? Because it has a top so the flies can't get in.

What about a raw chicken in a sealed bag? I mean you're going to cook it anyway.

So is a fridge really necessary?

  • 3
    Have you done any research on this question?
    – Carey Gregory
    Dec 11 '18 at 5:21
  • How many hours do you plan to leave this material out? Dec 12 '18 at 5:59
  • This is about food safety, not medical science.
    – JohnP
    Dec 13 '18 at 0:52
  • @JohnP food safety is medical science, under the umbrella of public health, often intersecting with microbiology and infectious disease. It's reasonable that we have a tag for it.
    – De Novo
    Dec 13 '18 at 16:43
  • @DeNovo - yes, food safety can be related to medical science in a sense, but it is not within the list of criteria for questions on-topic as it is not directly related to medical treatments. cooking.stackexchange.com may be the best site for this Dec 17 '18 at 9:31

Your milk and chicken both have bacteria in them. If you leave them at room temperature, those bacteria will grow rapidly. Some may produce toxins that will not be inactivated by cooking. The greater the dosage of these bacteria, the more likely they are to make you sick. Keeping stored food cold (below 40°F / 5°C) is an important part of basic food safety for reducing the risk of foodborne illness. Now, this doesn't mean that you will always get sick if you eat or drink milk or chicken that has been at room temperature for too long, but it does mean you will be more likely to get sick. Beyond health and safety, you will immediately notice the difference if you put a closed container of milk on the counter for 24 hours, and put another one in a cold refrigerator for 24 hours. You can run this experiment on your own (just don't drink the milk you left out).

You can read more about the importance of refrigeration at various public health websites. Here, for example, is some good information from the US department of agriculture.

  • But the milk has been pasteurised so has no bacteria in it.
    – zooby
    Dec 11 '18 at 3:21
  • 9
    @zooby It has fewer bacteria in it. It is not sterile.
    – De Novo
    Dec 11 '18 at 3:22

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