Storing food in the refrigerator properly requires keeping the refrigerator at the recommended temperature, checking storage instructions on food labels, using foods as soon as possible after storage and being mindful of spoilage. Consumers must refrigerate perishable foods right away after shopping.
Maintaining the proper temperature in the refrigerator ensures that food stays safe to eat longer. Consumers must check the temperature of the refrigerator from time to time to ensure that it is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, using either the temperature gauge built into the refrigerator or an appliance thermometer.
Many manufacturers post storage directions on their products’ food labels. Although most meats, vegetables and dairy products must be stored in the refrigerator, other items may require refrigeration as well, making it important to heed the manufacturer’s instructions.
Refrigerating food as soon as possible after a shopping trip is important to food safety. The FDA advises refrigerating foods within two hours of purchase or one hour if the air temperature is greater than 90 degrees F.
Keeping an eye on food spoilage ensures safer food storage in the refrigerator. Consumers should throw out spoiled foods right away to avoid contaminating other stored foods. Cleaning the refrigerator often and wiping up spills quickly help keep germs and contaminants under control.