What Is the Proper Temperature for a Refrigerator?


Quick Answer

The proper temperature for refrigerators is between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining this temperature range protects food from spoilage, allows for proper food storage and ensures the quality of refrigerated products.

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Full Answer

The temperature of a refrigerator should stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature rises above the 40 degree mark, food begins to spoil and the quality deteriorates. Foods that require the coldest storage, such as meat, milk and leftovers, should be stored near the freezer compartment. This section of the refrigerator is generally cooler than areas near the door.

Keep the temperature of the refrigerator above 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Foods that need to be stored at a temperature below that should be kept in the freezer. Some foods can become less desirable when frozen, so keep the temperature in the refrigerator high enough to prevent freezing. Use a refrigerator thermometer to accurately gage the temperature inside the unit.

Maintaining this temperature range helps prevent bacteria from developing in foods. Bacteria often leads to food-borne illnesses. Be sure to keep raw meats, milk, eggs and produce properly chilled to keep these dangerous bacteria from growing. Adequate refrigeration also helps to prevent mold, which is a common sign of food spoilage. Mold is not as dangerous as bacteria, but moldy food should be discarded immediately.

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