Fridge hygiene

Date: 2009


There are some cool rules for making sure your fridge is a safe place to keep food.


Keeping food correctly chilled in the fridge slows down the growth of bacteria. At temperatures between 5°C and 63°C (‘the danger zone’), bacteria on food can grow to a point where they can make you ill. Here are some cool rules to keep foods safe:

  • Keep the fridge at 5°C or below.
  • Place a mercury-free fridge thermometer on the bottom shelf above the salad drawer, and check the temperature once a week, ideally first thing in the morning.
  • The numbers on the fridge thermostat dial do not necessarily show the temperature reading, so check the user handbook and use a thermometer to checFridge with correct foods on each shelfk the temperature.
  • Keep the fridge door closed tightly, as the temperature will rise if the door is left open.
  • Don’t overpack the fridge, as this can stop cool air from circulating freely and the fridge may not keep the foods properly chilled.
  • Don’t put hot food in the fridge as this can raise the fridge temperature.


It is very important to prevent germs from raw foods spreading to ready-to-eat foods.

  • Store ready-to-eat foods such as cheese, yoghurt, cooked meats and leftovers on the middle and top shelves.
  • Put raw meat, fish and poultry in sealed containers on the bottom shelf so they don't touch each other or drip onto other foods.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge within two hours of cooking and eat them within three days.
  • Don’t eat food after its ‘use by’ date because it might not be safe.

The meaning of cleaning

  • Clean the fridge regularly, especially the fridge handle, shelves and storage compartments.
  • Wash all surfaces thoroughly with warm, soapy water, then rinse them clean.
  • Dry surfaces thoroughly with a clean towel or kitchen roll.
  • Wipe up spills straightaway.
  • Never use cleaning products that may leave a taste in food or damage the fridge.
  • At least once a week, check for foods that have passed the ‘use by’ date, and throw them out.
For more information or to order a copy of this leaflet email or call the safefood helpline:

NI 08000851683
ROI 1850404567