Do you know what temperature your fridge should be?
You might opt for environmentally-friendly packaging or use a bag for life instead of plastic ones but theres something in your kitchen that still leads to food waste every week.
Its your fridge. Half of us dont know the optimal temperature our fridges should be to ensure its contents dont go off any earlier than they should.
Food waste charity WRAP said British people arent aware exactly what temperature their cooling devices should be which can, in turn, lead to more food waste.
WRAP said the average fridge in UK homes runs at 7°C which is higher than what the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends – something between 0°C to 5°C.
Our fridges are often too hot for our food to handle, which means that milk and other food items are going off too soon and getting thrown away. We wouldnt chuck money in the bin, but the average UK family wastes £70 a month by wasting food that could have been eaten, said Helen White, from WRAPs Love Food Hate Waste initiative.
And its important for your fridge and freezer to be in the right condition to stop the growth of bacteria, says the FSA.
Some foods need to be kept in the fridge to help slow down bacterial growth and keep them fresh and safe for longer. Generally, the colder the temperature the slower bacteria will grow, but cold temperatures dont stop bacteria growing altogether (for example, listeria monocytogenes).
You need to check that your fridge is cold enough using a fridge thermometer. This is because the dials on fridges dont always show you the right temperature. The coldest part of the fridge should be below 5°C.
Dont overfill your fridge. Leaving space allows air to circulate and maintains the set temperature.
If your fridge is looking full, take out items that dont need to be chilled, such as beer. This will make room for the items that do need to be chilled for safety reasons, such as raw, ready-to-eat and cooked food.
To keep food safe
- Store any food with a use by date, along with cooked dishes, salads and dairy products, in your fridge
- Keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation
- Cool cooked food quickly at room temperature and then place in the fridge within one to two hours
- Dont leave the fridge door open for too long