I developed the habit of smelling foods before I put it into my mouth. Especially foods that got cold and those that came from restaurants.
Surprisingly, this is the first time the mashed potato we ordered has a nice aroma. All the previous have somewhat musty odor. A smell similar to spoiled rice.
At first, we argued about it. She insisting the not so nice odor is natural. I let her won. I ate the mashed potato every time pretending not perceiving its slightly disagreeable smell. My stomach has never gone bad so I got confident it is okay. We never let our two kids eat it though.
After this, the doubts has gone up to my head again. Mashed potatoes with slightly musty aroma are already bad and should not be eaten.
Base from stilltasty.com the best way to tell if mashed potato is bad or not is by smelling. Tasting first is discouraged. Discard if there is off smell or appearance.
From the same web. Bacteria grows rapidly at room temperature. Something between 40 and 140 degrees F. It should be discarded after two hours. Judging the fast food kitchen regular temperature, it is conducive to bacterial growth. More often the than not, the commodity may stay in shelf for two hours or more before getting serve to customers.
From chowhound.com forum. The max shelf life of mashed potato in freezer is one week. It is easy to tell if it is bad. It appears glossy and taste sour. I think inspecting the appearance is fine but tasting is not. Putting the food in doubt in mouth is very risky. We never know what kind of microbes have grown in there.
I think I should refrain from ordering mashed potatoes.