The ScenarioIn a desperate attempt to stop the flu that’s knocked the end 80 percent the his colleagues, her friend’s been guzzling OJ—despite what you've called him about overdoing it on juice. Yesterday, he awoke indigenous his slumber to find the gallon quiet sitting the end on the counter. Now he’s wonder if he can salvage his five bucks and pop it ago in the fridge—or if something funky’s imminent in there that might knock him out harder than that flu.

You are watching: Does unopened orange juice go bad if not refrigerated

The FactsThe FDA claims that leaving perishable foods items out the the fridge for two hours or more allows bacteria come multiply, which have the right to put world at threat for contracting nasty foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E.coli. On their website, Tropicana claims “we execute not recommend utilizing chilled juices that have been left unrefrigerated more than 3 hours,“ but doesn’t define why. We understand that once it comes to refrigerated foods, there’s a pretty large range of what survives hrs on the counter and also what doesn’t—milk spoils quickly, however butter can last exterior the refrigerator for days. But while it's clever to be cautious, it's not necessarily the finish of the human being if you absentmindedly take it a swig. (More on that in a moment.)

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What’s likely to Happen“Because it’s supervisor acidic, store-bought orange juice is just one of those couple of items the won’t do you ailing if left out,” claims Keith R. Schneider, professor of food science and also human nutrition at the university of Florida. Component of the reason is the it’s obtained a pretty comparable PH to ketchup, Schneider says, and also highly acidic environments make it tough for bacteria come multiply. (That's why most preservatives are acids.) and because store-bought OJ is likewise pasteurized (heat-treated) to death off any harmful bacteria prefer Salmonella or E. Coli that can have slipped in throughout the manufacturing process, there’s virtually zero chance you’d fall ill, Schneider says. That said, unrefrigerated OJ will certainly spoil after more than a couple of hours and also probably won't taste great. Together it sit on the counter at room temp, fermentation to adjust in, developing lactic acid organisms that give off a funky flavor and also destroy the shelf life that the juice.

The Worst That can HappenThere's one large exception to all of this: If you're drinking fresh, unpasteurized juice, Schneider claims it have to go ideal in the garbage if it's been left out. Fresh juices often tend to be much less acidic—especially if that fancy cold-pressed OJ was mixed with carrots or an additional less-acidic fruit or veggie. There is no the pasteurization process, counter time could up your threat for contracting a nasty foodborne condition that slipped in and multiplied. Pathogens from, say, the hands that picked the fruit, or the machine that squeezed it, can contaminate juice and spread fast. Translation: You’d it is in on the toilet for part time—if no in the hospital.

What to Tell your FriendIf the OJ is store-bought, take it a whiff or sip come see exactly how much spoilage has set in. If it’s no offensive, pop it ago in the fridge. Forgot to put away a party of raw juice? It’s no worth the risk—toss it and also start mourning your 12 bucks.

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