Food blog

Refrigerating Condiments: A Must for Health and Social Standing

Refrigerate condiments to avoid getting sick (and getting roasted online)

Kitchen Storage and Preservation

Have you ever opened a condiment like relish or honey mustard for the first time and wondered what to do next? Most packages are labeled with something along the lines of “refrigerate after opening” if you’re supposed to keep it cold, but it seems like some people don’t want to listen to that recommendation. It kind of makes sense-why refrigerate condiments that you didn’t buy in the refrigerated section of the grocery store-but not keeping your condiments cold can actually be dangerous to both your health and your social standing.
In a viral TikTok video with over 200,000 likes, the video creator calls out his mom for everything he claims she doesn’t keep refrigerated after opening, and if you have a sensitive stomach, it might make you feel queasy to watch. The video creator begins by showing minced garlic, then we see pickled eggs, pizza sauce, several bottles of ketchup, mayo, and even a variety of cheeses left unrefrigerated. Users in the comments had no hesitation in roasting the mother for her choices. One commented, “This is why I don’t eat at other people’s houses.” Although some commenters pointed out that they noticed condensation droplets on the jar of pizza sauce, so who knows, maybe the food was refrigerated and this creator is setting up his mother to be roasted.

What needs to be refrigerated to avoid online ridicule (and disease)?

The veracity of the video aside, most of the food the creator claims his mother is leaving out can cause health problems if not stored properly. Even if you’re not personally worried about the consequences, your friends and family may be less willing to eat at your house if they see you storing open food in your cabinets. Items such as ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, mustard, and pickles must be refrigerated after opening.
In the comments section of the now-viral video, many also pointed out the link between minced garlic and botulism when improperly stored. According to the CDC, botulism is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, so it’s not something you want to mess around with. To avoid botulism and other health problems, the USDA recommends keeping this type of garlic product – any garlic stored in oil – below 40 degrees F and says it should only be kept for a week if made at home. Garlic isn’t the only food that could harbor dangerous spores, so it’s important to know which of your foods need to be refrigerated to avoid both serious illness and being labeled a social deviant.

Bottom line

Refrigerating condiments after opening is not only a matter of food safety, but also a way to avoid potential social embarrassment. While it may seem unnecessary to refrigerate condiments that were not purchased in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, it is critical to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper storage. Failure to do so can result in foodborne illness and health risks associated with improper storage.
The viral TikTok video serves as a reminder of the importance of refrigeration for certain condiments. Items such as ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, mustard, and pickles should be refrigerated after opening to preserve their quality and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
In addition, certain foods, such as garlic in oil, can pose specific risks if not properly refrigerated. Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal illness, can result from eating improperly stored garlic. Understanding the specific storage requirements for different foods is critical to ensuring food safety and preventing dangerous health consequences.
By refrigerating spices and following proper storage practices, you can protect your health, protect others from potential harm, and avoid online ridicule. Let’s prioritize food safety and make informed choices when it comes to storing our spices.


Why is it important to refrigerate spices after opening?

Refrigerating condiments after opening helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and microorganisms. It ensures that condiments remain safe to eat and maintain their quality for a longer period of time.

What happens if I don’t refrigerate spices?

If condiments are not refrigerated after opening, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to foodborne illness. Consuming unrefrigerated condiments increases the risk of contamination and can lead to digestive and other health problems.

Can I store condiments at room temperature if they were not stored in the refrigerated section of the grocery store?

It’s important to follow the instructions on the condiment package. If the label states that the condiment should be refrigerated after opening, it is advisable to store it in the refrigerator, regardless of where it was purchased.

How long can I safely store refrigerated spices?

The shelf life of refrigerated condiments varies by type and brand. It is recommended that you check the product packaging or consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific storage times. As a general rule, discard any condiments that show signs of spoilage, such as unusual odor, color, or texture.

Can I use spices that have not been refrigerated for a short period of time?

It is best to err on the side of caution and avoid using spices that have not been refrigerated for an extended period of time. Even a short time at room temperature can promote bacterial growth. To ensure food safety, it is advisable to discard spices that have been improperly stored.

Are there spices that do not require refrigeration after opening?

While some condiments, such as vinegar-based hot sauces or certain types of commercially processed pickles, have higher acid levels that act as natural preservatives, it is still recommended to refrigerate them after opening to maintain their quality and extend their shelf life. Always check the product instructions for specific storage recommendations.

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