What Happens if I Forget to Refrigerate Whipping Cream?

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Never use whipping cream with an unpleasant flavor or bad smell.
Never use whipping cream with an unpleasant flavor or bad smell. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you get busy and forget to refrigerate whipping cream, don't take chances with your health of the health of your family. Eating spoiled whipping cream may result in nausea, diarrhea and vomiting in healthy adults, but the bacteria can cause serious illness in infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms of Foodborne Illness

Symptoms of food poisoning include upset stomach, cramping, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, as well as headaches, muscle aches and fever. Symptoms may occur as soon as four hours after eating spoiled food, or the signs may not appear for as long as 24 to 36 hours. The illness usually runs its course in one to three days, but may last as long as a week. Call a health care provider if symptoms include dehydration, bloody stools, diarrhea that lasts more than three days or a temperature of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Infants, the elderly, pregnant women and people with pre-existing medical conditions should see a physician as soon as possible.

Treating Foodborne Illness

Avoid any type of food or drink for a few hours, or until your stomach settles down. As soon your stomach can tolerate it, prevent dehydration by sipping small amounts of water, clear broth or other clear liquids. Get plenty of rest and give your body time to recover. When you feel like eating, stick to bland foods for a few days and avoid spicy foods, caffeine, dairy products and alcohol. Avoid anti-diarrhea medications unless your physician suggests otherwise. Although diarrhea is unpleasant, it helps rid your body of the organisms that made you sick.

Unrefrigerated Whipping Cream

Discard whipping cream left at room temperature even for a short time, because bacteria multiplies rapidly at temperatures above 45 F. To be safe, pour out only the amount of whipping cream that you intend to use and return the remainder to the refrigerator immediately. Never pour warm whipping cream into a container of refrigerated cream because the warm cream may contaminate the entire container.

Storing Whipping Cream Safely

Place whipping cream in the refrigerator as soon as you bring it home from the supermarket. Whipping cream keeps best at temperatures between 34 and 40 F. or lower. Store the product, in its original container, in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is often the area nearest the freezer. Don't store whipping cream in the door because warm air enters every time the door is opened. Use an appliance thermometer in several areas of your refrigerator to be sure your refrigerator is cooling at a safe temperature.

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