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Spring Cleaning the Office Refrigerator

Spring is well on its way, which means that you so are all of those Spring cleaning projects around your home. You probably clean out the fridge in your home on a semi-regular basis, but the story might be different for the refrigerator at your office due to the fact that it is a shared responsibility. However, it could a potential risk to the employees at your office if you aren’t cleaning the fridge regularly and safely. Here are some tips that may be helpful.

 

Keep it at a safe temperature. Bacteria exists everywhere in nature, including the fridge. The good thing is that the fridge slows bacterial growth if it is set to the correct temperature – 40°F or lower. When the temperature is higher than this, bacteria grows rapidly which increases the chance for it to cause illness. Appliance thermometers exist for instances such as this to provide accurate readings of temperatures.

 

Keep it clean. If your office doesn’t have a cleaning schedule, you should make it a habit to throw out expired perishable foods left in the refrigerator at least once a week. A general rule of thumb to go by is that cooked leftovers shouldn’t be left in the fridge for more than four days. If you aren’t sure about how long things last, refer to this chart. Make it known that spills inside the fridge should be cleaned up immediately with hot, soapy water to avoid making it a bigger cleaning job later on. Make sure to avoid using solvent cleaning agents because they could have a chemical impact of the food stored there.

 

Share responsibilities. You might feel like you are the only one who cares about the cleanliness of the refrigerator, but make it a food safety issue. Not everyone out there knows how important it is to keep all food contact surfaces clean. So inform them of this to try to change their minds on keeping things clean.

 

Storage tips. When storing foods, read the labels for the recommendations on how long to store them for. Condiments generally should be refrigerated after they are opened. If you notice an item that hasn’t been properly refrigerated, don’t risk it. It is better to toss it than risk illness. If you notice things like food smelling funny or you notice mold forming, discard the item.

 

Circulate safety tips like these around the office to make sure that your co-workers are aware of the risks of not properly maintaining a clean fridge.

 

Resources:

 

https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/spring_clean_the_fridge.html

 

http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/13746-keep-the-office-fridge-clean-and-safe

 

https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html