Food Spoilage
Food Safety

If the smell of the mothballs in your garage has permeated into the refrigerator in the garage... is the food in the refrigerator dangerous?

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Wiki User
August 18, 2008 7:02PM

Refrigerators are typically airtight, so I'm very surprised to hear your food smells of camphor. Some folks confuse the smell of camphor (mothballs) with ammonia, a byproduct of decomposition. If there's any chance at all that you're smelling ammonia from the food rather than camphor, this indicates that the food may be infected. While this shouldn't happen if the food has remained below 42F -- and is even less likely if the food remained frozen -- it's not unheard of that a temporary power failure, perhaps while you were away, allowed your food to warm up, infect, and then drop back to safe temperatures, all without you knowing.

If this is a possibility, dispose of the food. It's not worth the risk.