What’s lurking in your refrigerator?

Cleaning your refrigerator can help reduce the chances of Listeria from growing and spreading within.

While keeping your refrigerator temperature set in the safe zone of 40 degrees Fahrenheit prevents food from growing most bacteria, Listeria can still grow. Don’t panic – while Listeria is a type of bacteria that can still grow within the safe temperature zone, there are still ways to keep food safe in the refrigerator.

One way to prevent Listeria is to often clean your refrigerator. Listeria can grow slowly in the temperature safe zone and transfer to different items in the refrigerator. Particularly juices that may run out of lunch meat packages or raw meats that may have dripped while thawing in the refrigerator. Michigan State University Extension recommends wiping up any spills with a one-time use paper towel instead of a cloth towel to lower the risk of cross contamination.

If there isn’t a thermometer in your refrigerator, add one. Most grocery stores or general stores carry them. It is also advised to wash all fruits and vegetables before you cut them. Listeria can live on the outer layer of produce and when cut, can spread to the inside of the fruit or vegetable.

When storing items in the refrigerator date and label each item so you know when to throw it out. You may even save yourself or someone else from becoming sick with Listeriosis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has many good recommendations to follow to help prevent listeria from lurking in the refrigerator. Don’t take any chances, clean your refrigerator often and when in doubt throw it out.

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