Do you know the temperature inside your refrigerator? Food storage temperature is important for food safety. Here is 911 on refrigerator and freezer temperatures to maintain food safety and quality.
How cold should I keep my refrigerator?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the refrigerator should maintain a temperature of 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below.
For safety, it is important to verify the temperature of the refrigerator. I keep my refrigerator between 35-38 degrees, I don't want to risk it going over 40 degrees .
Read food safety tips from the USDA
Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to monitor the temperature. Refrigerator thermometers are specifically designed to provide accuracy at cold temperatures. This refrigerator-freezer thermometer is like the one I've used for years and is under $10 on Amazon.
I'm also considering upgrading to a digital model.
The temperature controls in your fridge may not be accurate. Also, your fridge may have areas on the shelves that are warmer. Move the thermometer around inside the fridge for a few days to get a better idea of which areas may run warmer.
Refrigerator Safety Tips
You can take additional steps to make sure your refrigerated foods stay as safe as possible.
- Don’t overpack the fridge. Cold air needs to circulate around refrigerated foods to keep them properly chilled.
- Label jars with the date you opened it up.
- Store refrigerated foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags.
- If food is past its “use by” date, discard it. If you’re not sure or if the food looks questionable, the simple rule is: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
How cold should I keep my freezer?
To store frozen foods at the best quality, keep the freezer set to maintain zero (0 °F or -17.8 °C) or below. Your freezer should keep food solidly frozen.
Freezer temperatures below Zero will temporarily stop bacteria from growing, but won't kill them.
How long can you keep food frozen?
Food stored constantly at 0 °F or below will always be safe, however, the longer food is frozen the more chance of freezer burn happening. This isn't dangerous but will affect the quality of the food. Before freezing food I vacuum seal everything that I'll possibly keep in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks.
This is the vacuum sealer I purchased and it's highly rated on Amazon and a great price at under $50.
What is Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn is a quality issue, not a food safety issue. It appears as grayish-brown leathery spots on frozen food and causes dry spots in foods. It can occur when food is not properly wrapped in air-tight packaging.
How to check the food in the fridge and freezer if the power goes out.
If there is a power outage, and if possible keep your refrigerator freezer temperatures cold by keeping the doors shut. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about three or four hours if it's unopened. A full freezer will keep an adequate temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
When the power comes back on, you should check to make sure the food is still safe to eat.
- This is when a thermometer really comes in handy! If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
- If you don't have a thermometer in the freezer., If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
- 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. Discard perishable food that has been above 40°F for more than two hours.