Storing food correctly in a fridge

The concept of refrigeration is to keep food fresher for longer and to reduce the risk of Listeria; Salmonella, E. coli O157: H7, and C. botulinum.
 
By using correct practices, you can reduce the risk of serious food contamination. Following these methods can also save you from costly wastage.
 

Use a thermometer

Just feeling a fridge is not a good way to determine if a fridge is cold enough. The best option is to buy a low-cost thermometer to give you an accurate reading on temperature.
 
Average temperatures for each appliance:
 
Refrigerators: 2°C to 4°C
Freezers : -10°C to -18°C
Beverage fridges: 4°C to 7°C
 
If your fridge or freezer is not keeping these temperatures, you may need a service.
 

Marinating food 

Always marinate food in a fridge or chiller. Bacteria will multiply after 2 hours. The marinade should not be used as a sauce unless it is boiled first.
 

Never place raw and cooked meat in the same fridge without being sealed

This can cause cross-contamination of bacteria which will cause food poisoning. Always seal food in solid containers.
 

Raw meat should be sealed

Raw poultry, meat and seafood must be completely sealed to prevent juices leaking and bacteria from entering.
 

Do not use door-shelves for dairy 

Eggs and milk should not be stored on the door shelf at all as this is usually warmer than the rest of the fridge.
 

Follow the 2-Hour Rule

Food should not be kept out of refrigeration for longer than 2 hours. To minimise contamination, food that has thawed must be cooked within 2 hours and not re-frozen.
 

Allow food to cool before placing in the fridge

Warm food placed in a fridge will cause condensation and promote bacteria growth.
 

Place liquid items below solid items to prevent spillage

This reduced th chance of cross contamination caused from spillage.

Avoid cardboard packaging

Packaging that is received in cardboard should be re-packaged immediately. Cardboard will retain moisture and can reduce freshness of product over a period of time. Liquid spilt on cardboard containers can cause bacteria growth to form on the surface, thus increasing the chance of cross-contamination.
 

Fresh vegetables and produce should be in a crisper

A vegetable crisper reduces the risk of “freezer-burn”. Direct cold air blowing on produce damages the vegetables.
 
If you do not have a crisper, place vegetables at the bottom of your fridge. If there is a fan, place the vegetables furthest from the fan.
 
Cold rooms should have vegetables placed beneath the evaporator to prevent “burning”. A crisper can be made by using a large enough container with a few large holes drilled into it for circulation.
 

Use “Date-Dots” on all produce

 “Date-Dots” are colour coded stickers according to the days of the week.
 
When date-dotting, add the day and date when the item is due to expire. This is easier to read and minimises the risk of food poisoning or keeping expired food. This can also help when cycling product. Use products that are closest to expiry first.
 

Place raw food beneath cooked food

Raw food tends to collect moisture or have juices. Placing raw food beneath cooked food to prevent spillage on to the cooked food.
 

Freezing facts

1. Freezing does not destroy nutrients or proteins. It only changes odour, taste and consistency.
 
2. Freezing does not kill all bacteria, it only reduces the risk of spread and growth.
 
3. Freezer-Burn is a quality issue and not a health issue. This only compromises the colour and taste but does not have any harmful effects.