1.04.2012

:Big Place to Small Space: 4 Things You Need to Know About Your Refrigerator

If you missed the first posts in this series you can find them here and here

When moving into an apartment, especially an older one, you can be faced with many obstacles that you might not be able to see on the surface when you move in. So has been our situation. With settling into our new (old) place, we have had to jump many hurdles and have discovered many issues, one of which being the discovery of our refrigerator not cooling properly, or really cooling at all for that matter. 

I don't know about you, but I didn't know a whole lot about refrigerators until we suspected that ours was down right not working. After a few hours of research online about how refrigerators keep food from spoiling, I learned a wealth of knowledge that I would like to share with you today. 

{4 Things You Should Know About Your Refrigerator}

#1: Everyone should own a refrigerator thermometer. Some high end fridges have one built in inside, but most do not. We purchased a digital one from Walmart for about $10.00. It was the way we were able to prove to maintenance that our refrigerator wasn't cooling properly. It turns out that our fridge was around 50 degrees. WAY too warm to keep food from spoiling. Which takes us to #2. 

#2: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends that in order to hinder the growth of bacteria in foods stored in your refrigerator it needs to be kept at a temperature of 40 degrees or below. The freezer should be set at 0 degrees. For more information about cooling temperatures for food from the FDA go here.   

#3: Since our refrigerator had been at 50 degrees or even a little bit higher for quite sometime, I was almost certain that all of the food inside would be considered unsafe for consumption, but I dug around the FDA's website a little more to make sure. According to the FDA, food that has been at 40 degrees or above for more than 2 hours should be discarded. This does not apply to foods that are in sealed containers that have not been opened, but are shelf stable and may have only been put in the refrigerator to chill before serving. These items would include bottled juice, bottled water, condiments that have not been opened such as ketchup, and some fruits and vegetables. 

#4: If in doubt, throw it out. When it comes to cleaning out the contents of your refrigerator, if you have to question its safety, it's better to be safe than sorry. Food borne illness is a serious concern if you believe that there is something fishy going on with your refrigerator or freezer. You can read more about what the FDA has to say about food borne illness here.   


Please understand that I do not claim to be an expert on food safety or refrigerator guidelines. I do feel more educated about the issue after visiting the FDA's website concerning food storage and preparation. For more information I would encourage you to visit it at http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/default.htm.

After we were able to test the temperature in our refrigerator and  provide maintenance with the information about food safety I had learned (and now have shared with you), they were more than willing to replace our old, broken down refrigerator with a bran-new one from Lowe's. 

Oh happy day for us! 

Come back next Wednesday for more advice about how to adjust from Big Place to a Small Space! 

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