Learn how to maintain proper refrigerator temperatures in order to avoid food spoiling and food poisoning.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer McEntire with the Institute of Food Technologists. And we’ve been talking about food safety. We’ve just finished washing our hands, now we’re ready to go into the refrigerator and get our food. There have been a lot of advancements in refrigerator technology, but one thing that most refrigerator still don’t do s tell you what the temperature is inside. You feel that it’s cold, but how cold is it? There’s a little dial here that goes from zero to six. That’s not really very helpful when you know that your refrigerator should be below 40 degrees. The best way to tell if your refrigerator is cold enough, below 40 degrees, is to use our refrigerator thermometer. I put it on the door here because this is typically the warmest part of the refrigerator, it’s the part you’ll open and shut, it’s exposed to the air the most. So, we want to make sure that it’s cold. Fortunately, this refrigerator is just below 40 degrees, so it’s in the safe zone. There are many refrigerators now higher end ones that do have a little readout that tells what the internal temperature is. But unfortunately, if there’s a power outage, one of the difficulties is that the power also goes our in the refrigerator and you’re not sure what the temperature is until the power goes back on. If there’s a power outage, it’s important to keep the door to the refrigerator shut. You don’t want the warm air blowing in. You do want to check that refrigerator temperature. And typically, if you don’t have a refrigerator thermometer, the rule of thumb is two hours above 40 degrees that you need to start disposing of some of the foods, the perishable foods, milk, meats etcetera. So, it’s really important that you keep foods below 40 degrees in the refrigerator, that you’ve get them into the refrigerator very quickly within two hours of preparation or if you’re at a restaurant, two hours since the food is been served to you. And you want to keep the food cold so that the bacteria don’t multiply, so that you don’t get food borne illness. There are many households in the United States where the temperature is above 40 degrees, some are above 50 degrees and that starts to present increased risks for food borne illness. We don’t want that, we want to keep our food nice and cold. The next step, we’re going to talk a little bit about how to defrost foods.