Refrigerator Food Safety Tips to Reduce Foodborne Illness

Need to get your refrigerator food safe and organized? Here are some tips on how to safely clean your fridge and to avoid waste & foodborne illness.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, refrigerating food at 40 degrees F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Studies suggest listeriosis could be reduced by 70% if refrigerator temperatures are less than 40 degrees F.

Food Safety Training Food Handler Training & Manager ANSI Certification
• Learn about cross contamination, cold and hot food safety, best practices for personal hygiene, and foodborne illnesses.
• Food Manager ANSI Certification - $99.00 - Valid in all States & for 5 years.
• Food Handler ANSI Training for only $7.00!
• 10% OFF SALE: Enter Promo "TRAIN10OFF" at Checkout

Safe Refrigerator Tips

  • Separate:  When loading your refrigerator, store your raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from each other, as well as away from fruits and vegetables.  Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in pans so juices don’t drip onto other foods.  Juices from meat can get on other items and contaminate them; separating items helps to prevent that from happening.
  • Check refrigerator temperature often, daily or at least once a week
  • Refrigerate prepared food and leftovers within two hours of cooking.
  • Divide leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Cover when food is cooled.
  • Don’t overload the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.

Proper Refrigerator & Freezer Temperatures

Chilling stored foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of dangerous bacteria.

When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from foodborne illness, one of your most effective tools is the kitchen refrigerator. In fact, at room temperature, the numbers of bacteria that cause foodborne sickness can double every 20 minutes! Chilling foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of these bacteria.

To ensure that your refrigerator is doing its job, it’s important to keep its temperature at 40 °F or below; the freezer should be at 0 °F. 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 the fridge, one for the freezer, and check them often.

Infographic: Refrigerator Food Safety

Power Outages and Food Safety

It should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours. Never taste food to determine its safety!