The best temperature for a refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Maintaining an appropriate temperature in a refrigerator reduces the potential for the growth of food-borne microorganisms, including Salmonella, listeria, C. botulinum and E. coli.
Periodic use of an appliance thermometer verifies that appropriate storage temperatures are maintained over the life of a refrigerator. A power outage of 4 hours or less, during which the door remained closed, does not affect the safety of food stored in a refrigerator. Keeping foods tightly sealed and cleaning spills immediately reduces the growth potential for foodbourne, illness-causing bacteria.