Refrigerator Bacteria And Their Harmful Effects To Human Health



It is commonly known that hot environment are where bacteria thrive the most, but there are bacteria that can actually thrive in cold conditions. Your refrigerator can be a breeding environment for microorganisms to thrive. Psychrophilic bacteria (psychrophiles) are bacteria that can grow in cold environment same as the refrigerator temperature. These group of bacteria can cause food spoilage and poisoning. They are harmful to human health. In view of this harmful effect, it is appropriate the refrigerator is always clean and free from microorganisms.

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Improper packaging or storage of foods such as milk, eggs, raw meat, poultry and fish can make the refrigerator to be contaminated with psychrophilic bacteria. When the refrigerator is not in a clean state, it creates an enabling habitat for these bacteria and will contaminate the foods that are stored.  When you eat food contaminated by bacteria, you are also directly taking in the bacteria. When the bacteria get into your system, they become pathogenic. Even if the bacteria didn't get into your system, these bacteria can release harmful toxins into food thus causing serious illness. Examples of these bacteria are the Pseudomonads, Listeria, Coliforms (E.coli), Salmonella and Vibrio. Psychrophiles causes illness such as meningitis, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, sepsis, dysentery, gastrointestinal infections, and food poisoning. It can result to death in immuno-compromised patient, older people and newborn.

The best way for reducing bacteria in your refrigerator is by properly cleaning its components and maintaining proper storage conditions. Always maintain hygiene by cleaning your refrigerator regularly with antibacterial products. Always make sure that your refrigerator is at 40°F or lower. It is the most ideal temperature to prevent or slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. Do not store raw meat, poultry or fish in same shelf. Never store your cooked food below meat, poultry, or fish on the shelf, it can drip raw fluid onto your food and may cause cross-contamination. Never leave the refrigerator door open unnecessarily to prevent hot air carrying bacteria to enter. Always wipe off food spill. Make sure that all store foods inside the refrigerator is kept in tight-sealed containers to retain its moisture and prevent it from spreading to other foods, this is very important. And lastly remove any suspected spoilt food.

The question now is; When was the last time you cleaned your refrigerator? As the saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

16 comments:

  1. Oh I do this at least twice a year! Great advice..I don't think enough people really understand this...but I have a background in food service and this is really important in commercial establishments.

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  2. Hi Mazino,
    You've pointed out something that I think most people overlook.
    We keep our refrigerator clean regularly, more in organizing and restocking it than from a health consciousness perspective. But it truly is important, as your post indicates.

    Kind Regards,
    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is an eye opener to keep the refrigerator clean for health reasons. Mine is usually very disorganised. I try to wipe down the surfaces once a week and to finish all cooked food within a week. Thanks for reminding

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  4. Hi Mazino - I'm big on injury prevention and your post is needed. I give my fridge a quick clean everytime I put away new groceries and a full clean at least twice a year. So important.
    Lenie

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mazino. These are great tips. I keep my fridge clean all the time. I've had food poisoning several times before and so know how painful getting sick can be. I also took a foods course, and I learned many things from that, too. My favourite is the saying, "When in doubt, throw it out."

    This has saved me from getting sick again!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I laugh when I read this, remembering my parents fridge that was an exercise in growing new life. That said, I clean my fridge every week now with a full cleaning every month. I know it'a a bit of an overkill but that because of my early years and the many cultures the would show up in my parents fridge.... LOL. :-)

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  7. I give my fridge a good wipe every week when I stock up with the weeks food. I tend to buy stuff as I need it so my fridge is never overflowing. Being a cookery tutor I am well aware of the risks and have to keep reminding my students regularly about not storing cooked food for too long in the fridge, freezing correctly and also reheating frozen food correctly. Thankfully - I am a vegetarian so I don't have to worry about the cross contamination.

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  8. I'm fairly diligent about cleaning my fridge, and not just for health concerns but who wants to look at a dirty fridge? Eww! I also practice keeping it clean anytime I marinate. If I have raw meat marinating in a zip-top bag, I always put that bag inside a bowl - just in case it were to fail or leak, it's easier to clean one bowl then the entire fridge. Great advice!

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  9. I'm now going to clean my fridge very thoroughly, thanks to your post. Now I'm extremely worried about what bacteria is floating around in there. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
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