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The importance of fridge and freezer temperature

by: Reduce the Juice

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Our Stories

The importance of fridge and freezer temperature

by: Reduce the Juice

Have you checked your fridge/freezer temperature recently?

1/3 of food produced for human consumption goes to waste every year yet there are so many ways to prevent foods from going bad. Temperature is important for keeping food fresh, safe and reducing waste. Keeping food stored at the proper temperature is one of the best ways to prevent or slow the growth of bacteria that spoils food and makes it go off, and also prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause illness. Here’s how to pay attention to temperatures in your fridge and freezer to keep your food as fresh as possible.

Fridge

  • Set your refrigerator to or below 5° C to keep your food cold enough. The dials on fridges don’t always show the right temperature. Keep a thermometer in the front of your fridge in an easy-to-read location and check it at least once a week.
  • Refrigerate your food as soon as possible to prevent food from going off and being wasted sooner than anticipated. Never allow seafood, poultry, meat, dairy and other foods that require refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the air temperature is above 32° C).
  • Don’t overpack your fridge. Allowing air to circulate in your fridge will ensure that it is working as efficiently as possible to keep your food at the right temperature and prevent it from going off.
  • Never put hot food in your fridge. Cool hot food within two hours to 20° C or below (a temperature probe can be used to check the temperature of food) before putting it in the fridge. Why? Hot food will raise the temperature of your fridge and put your food at risk of spoilage, and therefore waste. How? Portioning hot food into smaller/individual portions will help it to cool faster or put your food into a sealed container and then into an ice bath.
  • If you lose electricity, refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was not out for more than four hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. But when it comes to safety, if in doubt throw it out.

Freezer

  • Freezers should be kept at -18° C. Keep a thermometer in the front of your freezer in an easy-to-read location and check it at least once a week.
  • If you lose electricity, keep your freezer door closed. A full freezer will keep an adequate temperature for about 48 hours, provided the door is kept closed. Once the power is on, check the temperature and if it reads 4° C or below it is likely that the food is safe and may be refrozen. But again, when it comes to safety if in doubt throw it out.
  • Don’t waste food because of freezer burn. Freezer burn does not mean the food is unsafe, it occurs when food is not securely wrapped in air-tight packaging, and dry spots are created in the food. To prevent it, keep food packaged in an airtight freezer-safe bags (reusable silicone pouches are a great option to reduce single-use plastic waste) or air-tight reusable containers.   
  • Cool any hot/warm dishes before freezing them. Use the method above to cool the food before putting it in the freezer.

Now you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need to help your fridge and freezer fulfil its potential!

*Reduce the Juice is the University of London’s sustainability engagement programme aimed at promoting sustainable consumption and reduce carbon emissions in halls of residence.

Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440
Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

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Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440 Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

NewslettersDonate