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In my fridge I had a sealed package of bacon and hotdogs in the bottom drawer, and the water of the fridge somehow got in there. The package was partially submerged in this water (1 inch of water). The reason why I think they might have gone bad is because something in water may not get as cold as if it wasn't. Is it safe to consume?

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    You've presumably got a self defrosting fridge. The drain hole is probably blocked. – Chris H May 27 '17 at 10:48
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I know the mantra here is "when in doubt, throw it out", and we know you are in doubt, otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question...but, nevertheless:

The speculation, "something in water may not get as cold as if it wasn't" isn't true. Something in cold water will come to the same temperature as the water, just like it does in cold air, and probably faster than in air.

I don't quite get how that water got into the bottom drawer of your fridge, but if the water was at refrigerator temperature when it came into contact with the bacon and hot dog packages, and if they truly are sealed so that the meat isn't touching the water directly, then they shouldn't be harmed by having the outside of their packaging touched by cold water.

  • So true! Actually, water is great for conveying cold temps. Put a can of soda (or beer) in a tub of ice and one in a tub of ice and water and the one in the tub with water will chill faster. – Catija May 26 '17 at 23:46
  • Firm believer in when in doubt, throw it out, but in this case, I agree, nah. As long as it is just water and the packages were still well sealed, use em. If it was thin or showed sighs of leaking I might feel different. Think about going camping though. Ice + cooler = everything is always wet and I for one use the dry stuff first because the wet stuff I know is cold. – dlb May 27 '17 at 0:48
  • If packs of raw meat had leaked into the water I'd be more concerned about what else would be contaminated. – Chris H May 27 '17 at 10:47
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Except for something newly introduced into the fridge (or something that had been taken out of it for a while and put back in), anything that has been inside the fridge for half a day or longer should have the same temperature. Everything should reach "steady-state". (ok, most fridges are designed to have different zones with slightly different temperatures, but we can afford to ignore that for this question). As @LorelC pointed out, whether it was submerged or not really makes no difference.

The big question however is whether somehow the water had been warm at some point and raised the temperature of the contents of your drawer to an unsafe level and then before you had noticed anything awry, the fridge managed to chill everything back down to a normal safe temperature.

Without knowing how the water got there, what the source of that water was and whether that was was once at a much warmer unsafe temperature, it is impossible to say whether you food had been exposed to an unsafe temperature and for how long.

I have no idea how big your drawer is (half inch depth is only one of the three numbers needed to figure out how much water was there). Also, you have not said how much food is in the packet. I am assuming that you had a pound or half a kilo of meat, and your fridge is set to 3C or 37F. For your meat to reach 15C or 59F, very roughly speaking, you would need 2lbs of water at 15C/59F or 1lb of water at 30C/86F. For a 1 inch depth pool, your drawer needs to be something like 18"x24" to give you 1lb of water, or twice that size for 2lb of water. How likely are you going to have that much water going into the draw in one go at that range of temperatures? I would not rule it out completely since I know nothing about your case but I would say not very probable. For that reason, there is no need to delve into how much time it would take to warm your meat and then cool back down.

So, after thinking through what it would take to warm your meat to an unsafe temperature, unless something extraordinary had happened, your packet likely was not exposed.

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All meat products that are closed packages should not be harmed and should be safe for consumption if kept at same temperature . If the packages had been opened you would then want to throw them out ! Had this experience myself with both closed and opened packages . Closed packages were fine and opened ones were tainted in flavor and smell !

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