New Year, New You, New Fridge?


January is traditionally the time when we all promise to become fitter and healthier. But will you really use that gym membership you’re tempted by? Fortunately, there is a much simpler and more effective way to look after your health: check your fridge is working properly and give it a good clean.


  Your fridge could currently be harbouring millions of harmful germs and bugs, many of which can cause food poisoning. Our busy lifestyles mean that we often pack our fridges full of leftovers, uncooked meats and fish, ham, dairy products, ready meals and salad vegetables. Experts say that overloading your fridge with too much food could be making us ill.

Around 8.3 million people suffer from food poisoning every year. Research by Peterborough council found that throughout the UK twenty people are affected every minute, and food that has been incorrectly stored in a fridge is often the culprit. According to Catherine Collins from the British Dietetic Association, not refrigerating food properly and not keeping your fridge clean will increase the risk of food poisoning.

Keeping our fridge freezer at the correct temperature and cleaning it regularly can seem simple tasks, but it can be a problem in older-style fridges. Often their thermostats are unreliable, and they can also be difficult to clean, allowing bacteria to multiply in their nooks and crannies. If your fridge

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freezer has seen better days, it might be time to trade it in for a new one from In fact, a new fridge might save you money as well as protecting your health. New fridges are often much more efficient than older ones and so use less energy, cutting down the amount of electricity you use.

Keep Your Fridge at the Correct Temperature

Your fridge’s temperature should be in between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that your food is kept fresh for longer, and the temperature will be cool enough to stop bacteria from multiplying. According to Peterborough City Council’s research on fridge hygiene, one harmful bacterium can multiply to more than one million in under seven hours.

The most common bacteria to cause food poisoning in the UK is campylobacter, which contaminates nearly all fresh and frozen chickens and 95 per cent of pigs. Another common bacteria is e coli, which is usually found in raw or undercooked meat, raw vegetables and unpasteurised dairy products and apple juice. Always keep raw meat covered and at the bottom of your fridge to prevent its bacteria contaminating other foods.

Clean Your Fridge Regularly

Of course, keeping your fridge clean is essential. Remember that bacteria will thrive in the corners of your fridge – all those places that are difficult to clean, in fact. Raw meat is likely to contain salmonella, and so if it comes into contact with any of the fridge’s surfaces, that salmonella will multiply quickly. Richard Springer of the Society for Food and Hygiene Technology recommends that you clean your fridge with hot water and a mild disinfectant on a weekly basis.

Remember that a new fridge will be more economical to run and easier to keep clean – much better value for money than that gym membership you will never use.

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