Although the contents of your fridge may look appetising, it could be riddled with an unhealthy amount of nasty germs, bacteria and mould, a recent study has discovered.
Worryingly, these findings are just in the salad drawer alone. Tests from 30 different salad drawers found a startling number of bacteria, with an average of 7,850 bacteria colony-forming units per square centimetre (cfu/cm2). In some cases, it found 129,000 bacteria per cfu/cm2.
“The whole purpose of a fridge is to keep food safe and minimise the chances of bacteria and mould growth so it is worrying that in some there is clearly a substantial problem, as the research indicates,” Paul McDonnell, who commissioned the study, told the Daily Mail.
“Some fridge owners regularly take all the food out of their fridge, wipe down the interior, and clean the salad drawers separately. However, some are effectively never cleaned, and that is probably where the problems occur,” McDonnell added.
Currently the standard EC recommendation for safe and clean food storage and preparation is 0 to 10 germs per cfu/cm2.
These findings follows a recent study which discovered one in six mobile phones contain E.col bacteria.
Is your fridge in tip-top shape? Check our tips on how to keep a healthy, germ-free fridge.
Leaving your fridge door open for too long - even if it's just for a few minutes while you're deciding what to have for dinner, or unpacking your groceries - enables hot air to creep in and increase bacteria growth. Make sure you open your fridge for minimal time and keep it closed whenever you're not using it.
It sounds obvious, but keeping your fridge super clean is the utmost important factor of having a healthy, bacteria-free fridge. Don't just wipe bits of food or crumbs when you see them - make it a habit to take all food items out and use anti-bacterial products for a thorough clean.
If you have a mixture of raw and cooked meats in your fridge, make sure they are kept separate at all times. Raw meat contains bacteria from the animal's gut, so ensure it's kept on the bottom shelf (to avoid juices and blood dripping on other food) and ensure it's well covered. If it isn't, you could be providing the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Ensure that your fridge is kept at the ideal temperature to stop harmful bacteria developing or growing further. The perfect temperature is 1-4 °C and your freezer should be minus 18 °C. There temperatures keep food fresh and stops germs multiplying.
It's easy to plonk the latest food purchase at the front of the fridge, but don't forget about the older food sitting at the back of your fridge. Move the food around to ensure it all gets eaten (and seen!) before it goes out of date. Rotten food left deserted in the fridge creates a host of bacteria which can spread onto other foods if left too long.