Is it safe to store produce in the garage? #226251 - Ask Extension


Is it safe to store produce in the garage? #226251

Asked January 31, 2015, 2:18 PM EST

I sometimes buy bagged produce at "buy one, get one free" sales, usually apples or oranges. I'm reluctant to store the extra bag in the garage, thinking that exhaust fumes from the car, when it's started, could permeate the plastic bag and possibly get into the fruit, especially if the bag has small air holes in it. My husband says not to worry - the fruit is packaged and no harm will be done. Can you help, please? We live in Delaware County and the attached garage is partially insulated. In extremely cold weather, we can open the door between the garage and the house to help raise the garage temperature if needed.Thank you.

Delaware County Pennsylvania

Expert Response

I am going to refer you to a fact sheet from Oregon State University extension called "Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home. The link is

"if you plan to store food in or near a garage, you must more carefully wrap and protect the produce from car fumes, which produce easily picks up."  quote from the above publication, p3 of 11.
The publication recommends storage in an insulated box that cannot be permeated by car fumes. 
Eileen East Replied January 31, 2015, 7:34 PM EST
Thank you, Eileen. This is very helpful. 
The Question Asker Replied February 01, 2015, 3:04 PM EST
Thank you Eileen. This is very helpful. 
The Question Asker Replied February 01, 2015, 3:31 PM EST
A related question, which I didn't think of before. Is it safe to store bird seed and suet in the garage? The seed is in plastic jugs; suet is in its cellophane/plasticized wrapping. Can exhaust fumes from the car permeate the containers or wraps and contaminate the contents? Thank you. 
The Question Asker Replied February 03, 2015, 11:38 PM EST
I looked for scientific references that mention bird seed, but I don't see anything that addresses your question. However, the crucial difference between seeds and produce is that produce still has organic processes taking place such as taking in and giving off gasses. Seeds, on the other hand, are completely dormant and non reactive. I don't have an expert opinion to back me up on this, but I would say that as long as the seeds and suet are in a closed container and are stored in a cool dry place, there should not be any problem with keeping them in the garage.
Eileen East Replied February 04, 2015, 10:21 AM EST
Thanks for getting back to me about the bird seed and suet.
The Question Asker Replied February 04, 2015, 4:34 PM EST

Loading ...