If I asked you what the dirtiest place in your house was I bet your refrigerator’s fruit and vegetable compartments wouldn’t be your first answer. It probably wouldn’t even be in your top 10. But according to a recent study by the National Sanitation Foundation, these compartments commonly contain 4 different harmful and patiently dangerous types of microorganisms!
The study found that Salmonella, E. Coli, listeria, yeast and mold are commonly found in your fridges vegetable compartments!
YUCK! It’s particularly worrying when you consider that they’re coming into direct contact with your fruits and veggies. Most of which are probably eaten raw.
According to a study done by the CDC “lettuce and leafy vegetables are the largest sources of foodborne illness in the U.S., accounting for 2.2 million – or 23 percent – of the 9.6 million cases of foodborne illness reported each year.” So if you’re keeping fruits and vegetables in your fridge then you need to make sure that you’re keeping the fruit and vegetable compartments clean.
How can you cut down on the germs?
Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the gems in your fridges fruit and vegetable compartments:
- Clean and sanitize the refrigerator fruit and vegetable compartment as well as the meat compartment monthly
- Keep your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees F
- Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them raw.
- not only does this remove dangerous organisms but it also helps remove pesticides
- Do not store washed and unwashed produce together
- If you have fruits or vegetables that have been recalled due to illness wash both the container and the drawer they were stored in, as well as any food they come into contact with
How to Clean Your Fridges Fruit and Vegetable Compartment
Regularly cleaning the fruit and vegetable compartments is one of the best ways to cut down on the germs that can come into contact with your food.
1. Empty and remove the drawers – throw away any fruits or vegetables that have spoiled or do not look or smell right.
2. Scrape off any leafs or stems that are stuck on the bottom.
3. Wash all removable parts in warm soapy water.
4. If you feel like warm soapy water isn’t enough you can use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your refrigerator. Do this after cleaning it with hot, soapy water.
5. While the drawers are out of your fridge and drying wipe down the inside of your refrigerator.
Salmonella, E. Coli, listeria, yeast, and mold are not something that you want lurking in your refrigerator. Especially in areas where they’re coming into contact with food that is regularly eaten uncooked. Luckily it’s easy to keep those germs at bay by following a few simple tips and regular cleaning.