Many of us understand the need to keep bacteria away from our food by washing our hands, keeping our food preparation areas and utensils clean, avoiding cross contamination and ensuring that our food is thoroughly cooked and held at proper temperatures.
What we may have forgotten as our lives are busier than ever, is to keep our refrigerator cleaned too. We may wipe off a spill but when was the last time we fully cleaned out the refrigerator either at home or work?
Leftovers and spoiled food can cause a contaminated refrigerator and create a breeding zone for harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
The American Dietetic Association has some tips to help you stay on track and keep your family safe from foodborne illness every day.
- Create a refrigerator cleaning schedule for your fridge at home. Use warm soapy water to clean thoroughly.
- Use an internal thermometer in both the refrigerator and freezer to be sure they are holding your food at the correct temperature.
- Place meats on the bottom shelf so juices don’t spill onto produce or other ready-to-eat foods.
- Place labels on leftovers so you know when they will spoil.
- Wipe out shelves in the door and body of the refrigerator and clean the tracks under the shelves.
- Remove the vegetable bins and clean out inside the refrigerator behind the bin.
- Clean the egg and butter storage areas.
- Don’t forget the freezer!
- And don’t forget your refrigerator at work too.
For more home food safety information, visit HomeFoodSafety.org.