Food Safety: Is There Danger Lurking in Your Fridge This Season?

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Are you interested in keeping your family safe this holiday season? As the cold weather rolls in and as gatherings with friends and family occur more frequently, we often think about the colds and viruses that can make us sneeze, cough, and sniffle. However, what if one of the biggest threats to us this season, or any time throughout the year, is lurking right in our homes and kitchens?

The Partnership for Food Safety Education has recently launched a campaign, GO 40°F or BELOW, to emphasize the importance of maintaining a safe temperature in your home’s refrigerator. Getting sick with food poisoning from foodborne illnesses is not the way to start the holiday season!

Did you know? Every year, 1 in 6 people in the United States gets sick from food contaminated with bacteria. Keeping your refrigerator at 40°F or below will reduce the risk of having contaminated food. So how do you know your refrigerator temperature, and can you tell by the temperature control dial in your fridge?

The dial does not indicate the actual temperature, just the setting. Think of it like your home’s thermostat. If the heat is set to 72°F, you can have parts of your house that range anywhere above or below that temperature. One way to know the temperature of the inside of your fridge is to use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer. These thermometers can be purchased for a low cost and attach easily to a sidewall or hang from a shelf. Remember, bacteria grows rapidly in The Danger Zone of 40°F to 140°F, so be sure to refrigerate leftovers quickly, keep your fridge set at the correct temperature, and discard any food that has not been kept safe. For more tips, please check: Article source: Debbie Stephenson, Adult Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant with North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Harnett, Lee, and Moore County Centers.

For more information, please contact Tamika McLean, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

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Photo of Tamika McLean, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionTamika McLeanEFNEP Educator, Extension Program Associate (910) 875-3461 (Office) tamika_mclean@ncsu.eduHoke County, North Carolina
Posted on Jan 5, 2016
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