Guidelines for perishable food storage recommend a temperature of 4.4 degrees or below. While most of us have been to parties or family gatherings that see food left out for hours at a time after preparation, food is actually considered unsafe for consumption after only 4 hours at a temperature higher than the recommended level. That may not be surprising, but what about the food be kept in our refrigerator? Is it always cool enough?
On extremely hot days when the temperature rises indoor and out, your refrigerator may struggle to keep your food cooled to safe levels. If you have a refrigerator that gives a temperature reading, be sure to monitor it on these types of days. For refrigerators not equipped with this feature, place a thermometer inside the refrigerator and check it whenever you make a meal to ensure the safety of your family’s food.
If your refrigerator is struggling to keep cool in hot weather, you have some options for keeping your food cool.
If the refrigerator is getting too warm, consider freezing what food you can.
Ensure that there is adequate space for cool air to circulate throughout the refrigerator to avoid hot spots.
Cool food before placing it in your refrigerator by placing it on ice for several minutes.
Do not cover food with foil for refrigerator storage. It holds in the heat and makes it more difficult for your refrigerator to keep things cool.
Your refrigerator will work more efficiently if it is not fighting so much hot air. Lower the temperature in your home by blocking out sun, cranking up the AC, or bringing in portable cooling units for better operation of your refrigerator.
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