Is your refrigerator safe?
Winter weather outside is a good reminder to make sure that the refrigerator is cold enough to keep food safe.
Do you know what the temperature is inside your refrigerator? Do you know what the temperature should be inside the refrigerator? To prevent bacteria from multiplying to numbers large enough to make someone sick, cold foods need to be kept at or below 38 to 40 °F. If your refrigerator temperature is above the recommended 40 °F then your food is actually being exposed to the ‘temperature danger zone’, a range of temperatures from 40 to 135 °F where bacteria can grow rapidly.
People often make the unsafe assumption that the refrigerator is always at a proper temperature, when many times that is not the case. The only way to make sure that your refrigerator is at the safe 38 to 40 40 °F temperature range is to have a refrigerator thermometer inside and monitor the temperature often. Thermometers are quite inexpensive and can be purchased at many hardware stores, supermarkets, and grocery stores.
Other refrigerator tips to keep your food safe include:
- Label foods before refrigerating them.
- Do not overfill the refrigerator unit. Space between items allows for good air flow and circulation.
- Divide foods into shallow containers or smaller pieces before refrigerating to allow for proper cooling.
- Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible.
- Keep the refrigerator unit clean, including the shelves and drawers.
- If you don’t use food items and leftovers, discard them on a regular basis.
If you follow simple steps like these, you can be sure to keep the food inside your refrigerators safe for everyone to enjoy.