My girlfriend accidentally didn't close the fridge properly and left it open 2 inches all night (more than 8 hours). I had a lot of raw chicken breast and raw salmon in there. Is it still edible? When I touched the meat, it was slightly colder than room temperature (21 C).

The back part of the meat was still a bit cold though because it was closer to the back of the fridge.

Is it edible?

  • 1
    When did you last clean the cooling coils on your fridge? I've had mine open a crack all night and things got nowhere near that warm. Dirty coils make a fridge inefficient and subject to thermal shutdowns. Apr 25, 2014 at 14:02
  • 1
    Also beware that if the fridge has a freezer compartment, that may have warmed up, too.
    – derobert
    Apr 25, 2014 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


If the food had reached a temperature of 21 C for an unknown amount of time, you should definitely discard it.

See: How do I know if food left at room temperature is still safe to eat?

As a more general rule, there really is no way to provide a definitive answer; it depends on your specific refrigerator, the cooling power it has, how much air was able to move through the gap, and how much mass was inside the refrigerator to provide a thermal buffer

If you had a refrigerator thermometer and looked at what temperature the interior rose to, if it was below 40 F you are good.

If you don't have a thermometer, you don't know exactly what happened inside.

You must assess how much tolerance for risk you have.

  • 2
    Given that the meat was 21C (70F) or so, there's pretty much no way it's safe.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 25, 2014 at 6:45
  • @Jefromi Ah, I missed that; that is what I get for late night answering!
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 25, 2014 at 11:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.