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Should You Keep Your Ketchup in the Fridge? Heinz Weighs In

One of the most well-known manufacturers has spoken out about the condiment controversy.

When it comes to our kitchen, many of us are very settled on how we like to keep things. For instance, some people insist on hiding their trash can away in a cabinet, while others simply need to store their spices out in the open. But the biggest kitchen debate often boils down to where certain food items should go—in the refrigerator or the pantry? This is a controversial question for many different condiments like peanut butter, maple syrup, and yes, even ketchup. But now the makers themselves are weighing in on the matter. To find out whether or not you should actually be keeping your ketchup in the fridge, read on to find out what Heinz has said.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Items You Should Never Store in Your Pantry, According to Experts.

People are divided about where to keep their ketchup.

Portrait of a hungry man looking for food in refrigerator. Eating and diet concept - confused middle-aged man looking for food in empty fridge at kitchen.

The battle about where one of the world's most popular condiments should go has been brewing for years now—and still, it seems people can't make up their minds on the matter.

Back in 2017, the British supermarket chain ASDA sparked a debate about it on Twitter. After getting over 2,600 people to vote in an online poll, they found that the divide was pretty even: 53.6 percent said they keep ketchup in the cupboard, while 46.4 percent said they keep it in the fridge.

But now, Heinz has brought the argument to Twitter once again. Through its official UK-based account, the food company conducted a new online poll, and this time, over 13,100 people voted about their preferences. With this larger sample size, there was actually a clear winner in the consumer debate: the refrigerator. Out of the respondents, 63.2 percent said they keep their ketchup in the fridge, while only 36.8 percent said they keep it in the cupboard.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Fridge, According to Experts.

But Heinz has just given a definitive answer.

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA, JUNE 25, 2017: Bottle of Heinz Ketchup in Restaurant

Do consumer preferences fall in line with what the professionals recommend, however? It seems so.

Heinz actually pushed the online poll after it was met with some backlash over a tweet indicating that consumers shouldn't keep its product in their pantries. On June 27, the food company tweeted from their official UK-based account, "FYI: Ketchup. goes. in. the. fridge!!!"

This isn't the first time Heinz has weighed in on the matter either. The company previously confirmed its stance on refrigeration in a 2017 interview for Today. "We recommend that this product, like any processed food, be refrigerated after opening," Heinz said in a statement. "Refrigeration will maintain the best product quality after opening."

Some people still don't think ketchup should go in the fridge.

Empty ketchup bottle

Despite what the official manufacturer says, some people may not be willing to change their ways. In fact, many social media users took to Twitter to respond with their disagreements to Heinz's original post.

"I've never kept ketchup in the fridge," one person replied, noting they either store it in their cupboard or on the countertop. Another wrote, "Heinz don't even know where their product should be stored."

Others questioned why they should be keeping ketchup refrigerated when that doesn't happen at certain places. "If it was meant to be in the fridge, they'd put it there at supermarkets," one user responded. Another also said the condiment belongs in people's cabinets at home, "same as restaurants, same as supermarkets."

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But you can safely eat ketchup even if it's been stored in a cabinet.

Plate of Fries with a Bottle of Ketchup

Ketchup is considered a shelf-stable food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As the agency explains on its website, this means the condiment "can be safely stored at room temperature, or 'on the shelf.'" In other words, it is still safe for you to eat ketchup that hasn't been refrigerated.

That's because most ketchup products sold to consumers have three basic ingredients—sugar, salt, and vinegar—that help keep it acidic enough to prevent it from going bad at room temperature, Jeff Nelken, a Los Angeles-based food safety consultant, told Vice.

On the other hand, ketchup can quickly decrease in quality when it isn't stored in the fridge, according to Nelken.

"When you open up a bottle of ketchup and you leave it unrefrigerated, every time you open up the cap you let air into it," he explained. "Since there is bacteria and mould in the air, you're allowing some bacteria and mould into the bottle. In 30 days, you'll see separation and a little deterioration in quality."

But refrigerated ketchup can stay good for up to six months, according to the USDA. "If you put it in the refrigerator, you'll have six months of shelf life," Nelken confirmed. "If you leave it at room temp, when it hits 30 days, you'll smell and see a difference in the quality of the ketchup, [and] it will have a funky taste or funky smell."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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