I've Googled around WWW and found some interesting facts about oranges
and food in general when it comes to food poisoning. I asked about
your local temperature since extreme heat could have accelerated the
time in which your tangerines would stay safe to eat. This website
shows you the preferred temperature for proper storage of oranges et
"Store them at 12 degrees Celcius (=57o F) or if you like in the refrigerator."
Citrus Fruit - All About The Citrus Fruits - The Fruit Pages
Here's a fact I didn't know. "Oranges do not ripen after they are
picked, but lemons do." So, logically, they can't get overripe and
spoil for that reason.
Cooking Tips: Citrus Fruit
Storage time for citrus fruit is listed here:
"Storage: May be stored at room temperature for one week or in
refrigerator (uncovered) two to three weeks."
Monthly Market Basket: Citrus Fruits
It would seem unlikely that the fruit of your tangerines by itself
could cause food poisoning. However, this website also provides a
warning and storage times for a wide variety of fruits. "Don't fool
around with the following foods. They spoil quickly and pose the
greatest threat in your kitchen. Stick to these dates, and you won't
have to worry about these ticking time bombs."
"Hardier edibles, including: apples, cabbage, coconuts, artichokes,
carrots, oranges... 2 weeks"
When Good Foods Go Bad
This website offers some disturbing information about the state of
food inspection in the U.S. "Although much of the fear surrounding
food safety focuses on meat and poultry, especially beef, the General
Accounting Office estimates that 85 percent of food poisoning comes
from the fruits, vegetables, seafood and cheeses that are regulated by
the F.D.A. and claim a larger share of the American diet each year.
And poisoning from such foods can be every bit as deadly as that from
meat and poultry. Still, the F.D.A. has less than a tenth of the
inspectors of the Department of Agriculture, which regulates the meat
and poultry industry."
Contaminated Food Makes Millions Ill Despite Advances
Here's another. "Does washing fresh produce eliminate pesticide
residues from food? Washing fresh produce before eating is a healthful
habit. You can reduce and often eliminate residues if they are present
on fresh fruits and vegetables by following these simple tips: Wash
produce with large amounts of cold or warm tap water, and scrub with a
brush when appropriate; do not use soap."
And another. "About two to four percent of reported outbreaks of
food-borne illnesses are attributed to fresh fruits and vegetables...
For smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables, such as apples, Harris found
that rubbing the fruit under running water for five seconds and drying
with a clean paper towel can reduce the number of microbes 1,000-fold.
This method works with a wide variety of produce, such as oranges,
honeydew melons and tomatoes."
UC Davis Scientist Says Irradiation Can Prevent Listeria Food ...
Now to another possibility. Apparently some people have a problem, not
with specific foods, but with certain combinations of food. This
webpage explains clearly what can happen when our bodies release
"What all this tends to mean is that people who say they cannot eat
oranges or grapefruit as it gives them gas, could be blaming the
fruit, when the problem may lie with the escape of starches and the
bodies release of pancreatic juice and intestinal enzymes to break
And now, to your question. "Do you think they could've made me sick like
that?" I'm not a member of any medical community and so I base my
comments solely upon years of personal observation as a mother,
grandmother and restaurateur.
I think that if you ate an identical meal with your friend and s/he
was fine, you can rule out the meal as the source of your distress.
I think possibly the food combining page might be a possible answer
although the time frame you've given is larger than what is described
in the article. Of course it would depend upon whether you ate a
couple of tangerines or a dozen!
I think the tangerines, combined with the three days in your trunk at
above the recommended storage temperature and the good chance that
they should have been washed before you consumed them, could be the
cause of your subsequent illness.
You'll need to read each of the articles I've referenced above to
correlate all the information I've found. I hope this suits your
I wish you well,
old oranges food poisoning
oranges food poisoning