Do you know what’s in your refrigerator?

Out-dated sauces, expired dairy products, rotting fruits and veggies, and of course bacteria. While many folks are vigilant at keeping their fridge clean, there are many of us who are also guilty of not keeping it as clean as we could.

Check out our great tips for keeping your fridge spick and span!

Keeping it clean

Few people actually take the time to really clean their refrigerator, meaning with soap, bleach and hot water. Because germs are introduced to this appliance daily, it is important to routinely clean it just like you would the rest of your home. Clean up spills as soon as they occur, and take the time to wipe down drawers and door trays.

The Right Temperature

Many people don’t understand the dangers of improper food storage. You can reduce the potential for food-borne illness by keeping your refrigerator running at 4-5 degrees, and your freezer at zero degrees or lower. It is easy for temperatures to fluctuate when doors are continually opened, so it’s a good idea to check the temperature now and then to make sure the thermostat is set properly.

Where should I put stuff?

The location of your food in the fridge is key to food safety.

  • Store products such as yoghurts, butter, cheese, dips and snacks on the top shelf at eye level.
  • Place any cooked foods and leftover dishes above raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Store all raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood products on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
  • Be sure to leave these products in their original packaging and also place inside a plastic bag to prevent any leaking juices dripping on other foods.
  • Store fruit and vegetables separately. Vegetables should be stored in the bottom drawers.
  • Do not store eggs in the egg trays on the inside of the refrigerator door. The temperature here is higher than other parts of the fridge and fluctuates with frequent door opening. Keep eggs in their original carton and place near the top of the fridge.
  • Store fruit drinks, bottled drinks, products in jars, sauces, condiments and generally products with a longer shelf life on the shelves and in the compartments on the inside of the fridge door.

Product “Use by” Dates

Consider the “use by” dates on product labels. Condiments and sauces, especially, can sit in the fridge for months before being completely consumed. Check the dates, and throw the product out if it has changed flavour, odour or appearance.

Note: A “use-by” date is recommended by the manufacturer to use the product before that date for best quality.

What to Stock

When it comes to produce, fresh is not always best if you can’t consume it fast enough. Consider keeping only the fresh fruits and vegetables you will eat within a week. Frozen vegetables are good to have on hand to add to casseroles, pizza and stir-fries. Buy low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as lean meats. If you do not expect to eat the meat within 2 to 4 days, consider freezing it for later use. Avoid buying large portions of easily spoiled ingredients like sour cream, cheese and fish.

Planning Ahead

Avoid food waste and food-borne illness (and save money, too!) by making a grocery list before you go to the store. Without excess and uneaten foods in the refrigerator, cleaning up and cleaning out is easier.