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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.