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Is your fridge keeping food cold enough?

05th Dec 2019

Growth of bacteria in high risk foods is slowed down if the food is cold (5*C or less).
To do this the refrigerator temperature should be 4*C or less.

Refrigerator temperature dials are usually numbered 1 to 5 or 1 to 9. If your fridge dial goes from 1 to 5, set at 3. If your fridge dial goes from 1 to 9, set at 4. The higher the number, the colder the fridge. In the hot summer months you could set the fridge a little colder to compensate for warm air that gets in when the fridge door is opened.

What are ‘High Risk Foods’?

‘High Risk Foods’ are foods that bacteria (germs) like to grow in. High risk foods include meat (raw and cooked), fish and other seafood, cooked rice, cooked pasta, eggs and soy products as well as dishes containing these foods.

Will these high risk foods keep forever in the fridge?

The simple answer is NO! Cold temperature slows down bacteria growth but does not kill the bacteria. High risk food can go ‘off’ yet not smell or look any different. To be safe, keep high risk food no longer than three days before cooking, eating or throwing away.

What about fresh milk?

The ‘Use by’ date is the best guide. Fresh milk must be kept in the refrigerator and taken out only when using. Buy quantities that you will use before the ‘use by’ date is reached. Fresh milk can be frozen. Refrigerate Long Life milk (UHT) once opened.

Some advice to help keep high risk foods safe to eat

• When shopping, put high risk foods in the trolley last and use an insulated bag to carry them home in (especially in the Summer months)
• Put these foods in the fridge as soon as you get home. They should never be left sitting at room temperature for more than two hours and no more than one hour if the temperature outside is 30 degrees Celsius (or more)
• Place in fridge so that air can circulate around the food
• Food should be in sealed storage bags or covered containers before refrigerating
• Don’t open fridge door too much. Close as quickly as possible (especially in Summer)
• If the power goes off, food should be safe as long as power is not out for more than four hours and the fridge door is kept shut. After that, high risk food may be unsafe to

If in doubt, throw it out.
Better to waste some food than to get food poisoning