Volume 8, Issue 1
An everyday kitchen appliance, the refrigerator, will always be an essential element to our daily cooking routine. The refrigerator provides a few important components such as organizing, storing and cooling foods. Storing and organizing can help reduce the chances of cross contamination between certain foods, such as meats and vegetables. Placing vegetables and fruits on the top shelves, and poultry and other meats on the bottom shelves, will minimize the risk of raw meat juices dripping down. Storing leftovers in a container with lids will help eliminate any foreign objects from falling into the food and help reduce odors inside the refrigerator. Finally, due to the constant temperature fluctuation, it is best to avoid placing eggs and perishables on shelves in the refrigerator door. Organizing the refrigerator strategically will help reduce cross contamination and slow the spoilage process of foods that can lead to potential foodborne illnesses.
Avoiding the Danger Zone
Besides storing and organizing foods, the refrigerator slows the growth of bacteria in our food, which protects us from potentially harmful bacteria. If ingested, harmful bacteria can lead to a foodborne illness or food poisoning. Properly setting the refrigerator temperature at or below 40 °F will slow bacteria growth in food. It is best to avoid temperatures that fall within the Danger Zone, which is between 41 °F and 140 °F. Bacteria grows more rapidly at certain temperatures and avoiding such temperatures will help minimize it. Setting your refrigerator at the proper temperature and avoiding the Danger Zone will help reduce the chances of contracting a foodborne illness.
Shopping Cart Safety
Many may not realize keeping an organized shopping cart might actually reduce the risk of cross contamination, which can lead to a foodborne illness. The organizational rules apply to a shopping cart as they do to a refrigerator. Important tips to note would be to keep produce separate from raw poultry and meats, place produce in bags to separate from other foods, and do not place meats or anything that can potentially leak on top of the shopping cart. Following these tips can help reduce the chances of taking cross contaminated foods home.
For more information regarding refrigeration and food safety, please visit Foodsafety.gov.