Health & Food

Refrigerator Food Safety. Is Your Fridge SAFE??

Today I’m going to start with a few things from yesterday’s post:

1) I keep my bananas in the refrigerator because it slows down the ripening process. This has a lot to do with the humidity in your drawer. It should be set to low, because fruits ripen faster in areas of high humidity. Veggies are the opposite, as they will stay more crisp in areas of high humidity. BTW, it also helps to separate bananas! They will ripen slower if you separate them.

2) I keep my whole wheat flour in the refrigerator because, again, it will last longer in the fridge. Whole grains have the endosperm, germ, and the bran (refined grains don’t contain bran and germ). The bran and germ contain oils that could possible go rancid. Your flour will last a long time outside the fridge, but it will last longer in the fridge!

3) I looked at the ingredients for the Silk Almond Milk and noticed the second ingredient is evaporated cane juice. What a BUMMER!! I will not be buying this anymore

How Safe is YOUR Refrigerator?!

My master’s thesis focused on food safety, specifically which factors predict whether or not an RD will teach food safety (fresh vegetable food safety) to their clients and/or patients. You may find this strange, considering I have not once (that I can remember) written a post focusing on food safety. Having posted about the foods in my refrigerator yesterday, here are seven “Chilling Facts” about American’s refrigerators, which were accumulated from research by Tennessee State University, Kansas State University, and RTI International.

Source: The ADATimes, a publication of The American Dietetic Association

1) Fewer than 50% of Americans know that their refrigerator should be below 40 degrees F. If it’s higher than that your food is at risk of being contaminated by bacteria (and I’m not talking the good bacteria that you find in yogurt!).

2) A large majority of Americans have no idea what the current temperature of their refrigerator is. Do you have a thermometer in your refrigerator? I’ll admit, I don’t. I’m bad. However I do know that my refrigerator is cold enough because the food in the way back always freezes. I should still get one though. And it’s not just important to get a thermometer, it’s also important to check the thermometer! One of the areas I’m not sure about, despite my food freezing in the back, is the food on my door…..

3) Most refrigerators tested by researchers (76%) had an internal temperature that exceeded 40 degrees F. Ninety-one percent had door temperatures about 40 degrees F. Try not to keep foods like meat, poultry, fish, or dairy on the door. When you open the refrigerator those are the first to get warm. Same with your freezer.

4) More than half of Americans store their food in a way that makes cross-contamination an issue. According to the article and the research, it’s likely that many people have spoiled food in their refrigerator right NOW! Remember, eggs can be stored up to four to five weeks beyond the carton’s packing date. Leftovers should be discarded after four days. Also, don’t place raw poultry or meat on the top shelf unless it is well packaged. To learn more, check out

5) Very few people (if at all) clean their refrigerators thoroughly. As part of my research at OSU I had to take a sponge and do swabs of people’s refrigerators, under their drawers. You should have seen some of the crap I saw…..nauseating. Have you taken your drawer out lately?? A thorough cleaning includes emptying out the fridge, cleaning out the interior surfaces with a wet towel or disinfectant wipe, and taking out the bins/drawers to clean them, and clean the area underneath. I do this before I go to the grocery store, when my fridge is pretty empty. Be sure to DRY ALL SURFACES because a wet refrigerator means bacteria may thrive.

6) The produce bin is the area in the fridge that is most likely to harbor bacteria. The researchers didn’t find just any bacteria either, they were pathogenic bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella! This doesn’t surprise me after some of the stuff that I saw during my time swabbing people’s refrigerators. Make sure you use your produce fairly quickly and don’t allow it to spoil. If it does, clean the drawer with an antibacterial rag or spray.

7) A faulty door seal is a major problem! Check your door seal and see if there is resistance with a gentle tug. There should be some resistance. Also check for mold between the cracks (there shouldn’t be mold). This is typically a problem in older refrigerators, but can be a problem even in new ones! If your door seal if faulty or the seal is losing it’s grip, this could create condensation inside the fridge, causing mold and inconsistent temperatures.

Coming Up

My next post will include a new recipe and the low down on the common ingredient; soy protein isolate. Later in the week I will show you what’s in our freezer and cabinets. Oh yeah, I’ll also be posting about our big MOVE! BTW, does anyone have any good suggestions for a mattress? We’re currently looking for a new one and we don’t know where to begin.

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a great day!

About author


Hi, my name is Rebecca Houston and I am a writer. I write about health, healthy food and daily meal plan for various websites.
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