Is quiche safe to eat if not refrigerated? (How to store)
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is quiche safe to eat if not refrigerated?”. We also will discuss quiche shelf life and what factors lead to quiche spoilage.
Is quiche safe to eat if not refrigerated?
No, quiche is not safe to eat if not refrigerated. Quiche is usually prepared by adding an egg-based filling to a cooked pastry base which is cooked until the filling has set. The resulting product should therefore be free from vegetative pathogens and have a low microbiological load.
However, such products can also provide an ideal platform for microbial growth if not cooked or stored correctly. Extended exposure of quiche to room temperature can lead to the proliferation of harmful bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella
Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter. Quiche should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours and should be promptly refrigerated to ensure its safety. If the ambient temperature exceeds 90°F, it’s crucial not to leave it unrefrigerated for more than 1 hour. (1,2)
What is quiche shelf-life?
The shelf-life at 4-8°C, depending on the preparation, is between 6 and 21 days for a ready-cooked gas-packed quiche. It can be increased by several weeks after a high-pressure (HP) treatment like for several food products already on the market.
After cooking quiche should be consumed in two hours or refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days. If the quiche will not be consumed in that time it can be frozen for up to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen quiche can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer. (3, 4)
How does quiche spoil?
Because the basis of the quiche is made from dairy, eggs and sometimes meat, it is very prone to the proliferation of microorganisms, particularly bacteria, yeasts, and molds, which are a major contributor to spoilage. Spoilage microorganisms have a significant role in the decomposition of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins within quiche, resulting in noticeable and unwanted alterations. (5, 6)
What are the signs of quiche spoilage?
The main signs of quiche spoilage manifest as visible growth like slime or colonies, the development of mold with black spots, shifts in texture due to polymer breakdown, or the emergence of unpleasant, bitter, rancid smells, along with sour or bitter tastes. If your quiche has any of these signs it should not be eaten and thrown out. (5, 6)
How to avoid spoilage?
Preserving quiche at the correct refrigeration temperatures is one of the most effective methods for preventing or slowing the proliferation of spoilage bacteria. When it comes to quiches, it is crucial to promptly refrigerate them, adhering to the ‘two-hour rule’ for leaving perishable items at room temperature.
Maintain your refrigerator temperature at or below 40°F (4°C), while the freezer should be kept at 0°F (-18°C). Quiche that is properly handled and frozen at 0°F (-18°C) will remain safe.
Although freezing doesn’t eradicate most bacteria, it does halt their growth. It’s important to note that the longer quiche remains in the freezer, the more it may experience a decline in quality. Over time, factors such as tenderness, flavor, aroma, juiciness, and color can all be affected. (7, 8)
What happens if you eat spoiled quiche?
Consuming spoiled quiche can result in foodborne illnesses, which arise from a diverse array of harmful microorganisms that can affect humans when contaminated food is ingested. Contamination of quiche can occur at various stages of production, processing, and preparation through various mechanisms.
Foodborne illnesses, while typically not causing severe sickness, are a matter of public concern due to their potential to lead to significant morbidity and mortality.
These diseases often present with gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting as their primary clinical manifestations, although they can also manifest as extraintestinal symptoms such as neurological or systemic conditions.
The severity of foodborne illnesses can vary from being asymptomatic or causing mild discomfort that doesn’t require medical attention to severe cases that necessitate hospitalization or, in extreme cases, result in death. Generally, the intensity of the clinical presentation of a foodborne illness is linked to the concentration of microorganisms or toxins present in the consumed food. (9)
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is quiche safe to eat if not refrigerated?”. We also discussed quiche shelf life and what factors lead to quiche spoilage. In my studies, I was able to attest that it is not safe to eat quiche that is not refrigerated. Quiche is a very perishable food and will spoil if not stored properly leading to food poisoning.
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GILLESPIE, I. A. et al. Microbiological examination of ready-to-eat quiche from retail establishments in the United Kingdom. Communicable Disease and Public Health, v. 4, n. 1, p. 53-59, 2001.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://ask.usda.gov/ Website. Washington, DC. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? 2023.
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