How Safe Is Your Fridge

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Keep Your Fridge Clean

The first obvious step to keeping your food fresh and safe from bacterial growth is to regularly clean your refrigerator with hot water and soap. To prevent cross contamination of food, wipe spills before they dry up. Always check your fridge for spoiled food. Get rid of food that’s past its expiry date. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if food has gone bad just by looking at it; in that case, go with your gut feeling. Throw it away if it doesn’t look, smell or taste right.

Check The Temperature

If the temperature is not kept at the recommended degrees, bacteria can rapidly grow. Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40 OF and 0 OF or lower for freezer temperature. Merely feeling the cold air is not enough. “Since few refrigerator controls show actual temperatures, using an inexpensive freestanding appliance thermometer will allow you to monitor the temperature and adjust the setting of the refrigerator and/or freezer, if necessary. Buy one for each and check them often,” advises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Store Food The Right Way

Don’t stuff the fridge. It’s important to allow for cold air circulation. If the fridge is over packed, it’s hard to keep tabs on what’s spoilt and what’s not. Properly wrap leftovers (in carefully covered containers or sealed bags) and don’t store them for more than two days. Refrigerate food within two hours of cooking or shopping. The longer you wait, the faster bacteria grow. Don’t wash vegetables before putting them in the freezer. Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Don’t thaw frozen foods at room temperature, instead, do it the refrigerator (making sure juices don’t spill onto other foods to avoid cross-contamination), in cold water (be sure to change the water every 30 minutes) or in the microwave and cook immediately after thawing it.

Keep The Fridge Door Closed If You Lose Electricity

Limit the number of times you open the fridge door if the power goes out. A refrigerator can keep food cold for two hours if the door is not opened. Your food is safe in the freezer for about 48 hours if the door remains unopened during a power outage. However, when you get power back, check the temperature. You’ll have to discard perishable foods if the power had been gone for more than two hours.

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