The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bakeries storing sweets at room temp for sale

gretel's picture

bakeries storing sweets at room temp for sale


I got very sick last night. I have no idea what it was I ate as I had a number of different things. I did purchase a piece of marble pound cake from a well known bakery. It had the cake slices in a dry case with no doors, it was open completely from the back but had glass or plastic shielding things on the front where the customer stands. I bought the piece of cake around 4pm. How long can they store things made with butter like that at room temp for sale? I will never try to sue them , that's not my personality but it does seem odd that they are selling pastries make with cheese and cake slices make with butter perhaps sitting out all day for consumption.


Does anyone know about this? Can that make a person ill? Thanks.



PaddyL's picture

But I certainly wouldn't leave pastries with cream out of a fridge.  Once the butter in the pound cake is baked, it should be able to sit at room temp, albeit with some sort of cover, without making anyone sick.

Xenophon's picture

At the very least it's bad practice, at worst (depending on jurisdiction) they're committing half a dozen infractions (would be the case in Europe for instance).  My idea is that in practice, a slice of cake won't be so bad but woe betide if they'd do the same with items containing pastry cream, that's a veritable food bonanza for micro organisms.  When I'm visiting a place, before entering a bakery, I always take a look through the window if it's a sunny day.  If the sun is actually shining in on the stuff on display, even if it's refrigerated, I walk on.

LindyD's picture

Sorry that you were taken ill last night, Gretel.  You live in Canada, so I'm not familiar with how often your local health department inspects food establishments.  I know that here in the U.S., at least in my area, it's done on a regular basis and there are regulations that require certain foods to be refrigerated.  Pound cake is not one of them.  

You mentioned that you had eaten a number of things and had no idea what caused your distress, so here's a link which gives some basic information about food poisoning:

Hope you are feeling better.


gretel's picture

Thanks for the 2 comments. Now that I think about it the pound cake was under a cake cover, but this whole display case was definitely not refridgerated as it was completely open to the staff. They did not have cake with pastry cream, but they had cheese pasteries (like Jewish blinzes) and cherry filling pastries, Otherwise, they had that pound cake, all sorts of muffins, brownies, cookies etc. So, maybe I got sick from something else, I bought organic lettuce in a plastic closed tub that said it expired March 12th, when I opened it though yesterday, many of the leaves were dark and wilted. I threw those out and made salads for myself and husband, He did not get sick that's why I thought about the cake which he did not have.

Thanks, I will think more about displays next time I go into a bakery and maybe not buy anything at the end of the day unrefridgerated.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

whether the food is chilled.  A refrigerator can be completely open on one side, or both sides. Just take a look at the milk section of your local supermarket.

It is often very difficult to determine what made you sick. Usually it is impossible unless more than one person becomes ill and they ate only one food in common.  In the unusual circumstances where you ate something that smelled bad, followed by sickness, you can be pretty sure what the cause was. :)