What's Fermenting In Your Office Fridge?

February 4, 2016

 

When was the last time your office refrigerator was cleaned out? I mean REALLY cleaned out?

In every office refrigerator, you can find unmarked Tupperware containers filled with leftovers the owner has long since forgotten about, mystery foods wrapped in foil as well as old bottles of condiments that just magically appeared one day and nobody lays claim to. Add to that the strange sticky spill that is unidentifiable yet never gets cleaned up.

 

Forgotten food and beverages left in the fridge take up valuable space, but can also turn your office refrigerator into a disgusting petri dish of bacteria and dangerous food. Overstuffed refrigerators can cause the internal temperature to reach an unsafe level exceeding the recommended 40 degrees. With an infrequent cleaning schedule and lack of thermometer usage typical in office refrigerators, microbes can quickly grow without visual clues. These dangers also lurk in your home refrigerator if a regular cleaning schedule is not maintained.

According to a recent food safety survey, while most workplaces have an employee refrigerator, more than 20 percent of those surveyed said that their office fridge is rarely or never cleaned. Another 18 percent of those surveyed had no idea whether a cleaning schedule of their office communal refrigerator was even in place.

To keep your office and home refrigerator from becoming a science experiment, follow these tips from the USDA and HomeFoodSafety.org:

- Wipe up spills immediately and clean the surfaces of the refrigerator with hot, soapy water regularly. Rinse with clean water.  

- Weekly, throw out all perishable foods that have been in the refrigerator for too long. This is best done on Friday especially if the office is unused during the weekend. Scrub down the inside of the refrigerator (including shelves and drawers) using a clean sponge and warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water, then dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. Avoid using cleaners that may pass on taste to food or cause damage to surfaces. 

- Clean the outside of the refrigerator, especially the handle that gets touched countless times during the day. The front grill of the refrig should be dust- and lint-free to keep fresh air flowing.

- Eliminate odors between cleanings by placing an opened box of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator. Change the box every three months.

- Place a refrigerator thermometer in the middle to the front of a shelf to make sure that the temperature is at 40 degrees F or below.

- Request a thorough interior wash down once a month with your 1st Choice specialist to help keep the fridge clean and fresh.

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