It’s not enough to have a working refrigerator to keep your food for a long time. We prepared some refrigerator safety practices to prevent illnesses caused by the growth of dangerous bacteria and food-borne diseases.
At room temperature, dangerous bacteria that cause food-borne illness double every 20 minutes. Ideally, your refrigerator should be no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius. The freezer should stay at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius or below to do its job well too.
One way you can ensure this is to buy a freestanding appliance thermometer, one for your freezer and another for your refrigerator. This tool is inexpensive and quite useful since not many refrigerators would show you the actual temperature.
Another way to keep your refrigerator at ideal temperatures is to avoid “over-packing” your refrigerator. You need enough space to make sure that cold air is circulating in your refrigerator and keep your food and beverages properly chilled.
If you need to make space, check the expiration dates and if you’re not sure but it looks bad – toss it out! You can check out our article on storing leftovers if you want to know how you can keep them safely.
With all food, observe a “2-hour” policy. Any food that stays in room temperature for longer than two hours is at risk of dangerous bacteria. When you do the groceries, all foods that should be refrigerated or frozen should be put away as soon as you get home. If you take home food from a restaurant, make sure it gets to your refrigerator within 2 hours. Don’t take it home if you can’t get home before then!
Finally, if you’re marinating food, keep it in the refrigerator instead of letting it stand at room temperature. Never use the marinade as a sauce without bringing it to a rapid boil first to kill the bacteria that might come from the raw meat that was marinated in it.
Refrigerator safety is food safety. If you think your current refrigerator is operating below safety standards, it would be best to get a new one! Ask your local EMCOR store or shop online at EMCOR’s website.