What Should Be Done if a Shipment of Food is Received in the Temperature Danger Zone—Best Tips

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Find Out What Should Be Done if a Shipment of Food Is Received in the Temperature Danger Zone

What should be done if a shipment of food is received in the temperature danger zone, and can it be hazardous for human health? Find out what a danger zone is and whether the food can be received and consumed safely in it.

Our guide will help you understand this issue and teach you how you can deal with other delivery issues by —most importantly:

What Is a Temperature Danger Zone?

A temperature danger zone is a particular temperature scope in which there’s an increased risk of bacteria development on food. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) standards, it ranges from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). The organization defines temperatures between 70 and 125°F as the most critical environment for the growth of bacteria, microbes, and various pathogens.

Consuming the food kept in the danger zone for too long can cause various health complications. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Food poisoning
  • Other foodborne diseases

Factors You Should Consider if the Food Was Received in the Danger Zone

There are three main factors you should have in mind when deciding what to do with the food received in the temperature danger zone:

  • Food type—While some foods have a low temperature sensitivity and can stand temperature variations to a certain extent, others can be hazardous if received in the danger zone. The foods that can be dangerous for health in such circumstances include:
    • Milk
    • Fish
    • Eggs
    • Sprouts
    • Sauces
    • Seafood
    • Leafy greens
    • Dairy products
    • Cooked vegetables
    • Garlic and oil mixtures
    • Cut or peeled fruit or vegetables
    • Meat, including pork, beef, chicken, and other poultry
  • Storage procedure—It’s quite important to know how the foods were stored and if the storage procedure was completed properly. Failing to follow the guidelines can cause lower resistance to the temperature danger zone
  • Storage length—The longer the food is stored in the danger zone, the bigger the chances of spoilage

How Long Can Food Remain in the Temperature Danger Zone?

Any food that has been in the danger zone for less than two hours is usually completely safe for consuming or refrigerating at up to 40°F (5°C).

If keeping it in the danger zone exceeds two hours, the bacteria may start growing, and they can spoil the food and make it unhealthy. Sometimes, depending on the food type, you can accept and consume goods that have been in the critical zone for up to four hours.

What Should I Do if I Received Food in the Temperature Danger Zone?

The best way to deal with the foods that reached you in the critical zone is to return them to the sender as soon as possible. Each shipping company in the U.S. has specific rules when it comes to returns. Read through the requirements carefully and check out the steps you should take to send the food back safely.

You can return the package in two ways—by:

  1. Refusing the package as soon as the courier attempts the delivery—This is an acceptable option if you are home when the delivery takes place. The courier will take back the parcel to the post office and handle the return themselves
  2. Returning the package after receiving it—If you aren’t home during the delivery or you decide to return the contents after opening the package, you can do it on your own. Request a prepaid shipping label from the sender or ask them to pay for the returns postage. Once you receive the label, you should:
    1. Repack the goods if you have already opened them
    2. Write the correct address and other shipping information
    3. Stick the label on the surface of the package
    4. Bring the parcel to the post office

DoNotPay Helps You Get a Refund for an Incomplete, Damaged, or Lost Delivery Fast

The worst part about coping with poor deliveries, such as damaged orders and late or missing parcels, is the draining communication with the courier’s customer care service. Not only do you often wait on hold for hours and waste your precious time, but you also have to negotiate refund options, which may lead to disputes.

You can finally breathe a sigh of relief because DoNotPay comes your way to help you solve the issue with minimal effort! With our app, you can report the problem with your parcel to the courier’s claims department and request a refund from USPS, FedEx, or Amazon without speaking to representatives!

Here’s how to do it:

  1. and log in to your account
  2. Go to Late Refund Delivery
  3. Choose the courier
  4. Give us more details about the package

We will forward your refund request to the right department in a heartbeat!

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