We are all aware that hot temperatures are what bacteria craves the most to survive and multiply, but what if there are bacteria that can actually thrive in cold conditions?
Most of us have the impression that storing foods in the refrigerator is the best way to keep it safe from bacterial contamination, but what we’re not aware of is that there are also types of bacteria that can grow in cold temperatures.
Psychrophilic bacteria, otherwise known as psychrophiles, are bacteria that are able to grow at low-temperatures. These bacteria, which are also found in glaciers at Antarctic and Arctic continents, are the same types that can grow inside the refrigerator.
According to studies, psychrophiles came from either improperly packaged foods (raw meat, milk, fish, poultry, etc) or have already been growing inside your refrigerator due to improper sanitation and inappropriate refrigerator temperature. These types of bacteria include Coliforms, Vibrio, Pseudomonas, and Listeria, which are all in fact quite harmful to the human health.
What are the harmful effects of Refrigerator Bacteria?
Even though some of these bacteria are not harmful by itself alone, thus when it enters the human body (through eating foods contaminated with it) it releases toxins which are very harmful to the health. Psychrophilic bacteria may cause harmful health conditions such as sepsis, diarrhea, meningitis, dysentery, food poisoning, urinary tract infections, and gastrointestinal infections.
How to Prevent Refrigerator Bacteria from growing and spreading inside the fridge?
- To prevent the growth of these types of cold-loving bacteria inside your refrigerator, you should always make sure that your fridge is at 40°F or lower.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator door for unnecessary reasons as it may actually let the bacteria enter your fridge.
- Always clean and sanitize your refrigerator regularly using antibacterial bleach cleaners.
- Clean spills right away and organize the food placement inside your fridge. The best practice is to place raw meat, poultry, or fish at the lower part of the shelves to avoid its juices from mixing into other foods.
- It is also strongly advised to place raw food into tight-sealed containers to avoid food contamination.
- Always separate raw foods from cooked ones.
- Ensure also that you dispose old foods to avoid cross contamination. Check for discoloration or molds in foods and immediately dispose them. Molds are often signs of bacterial growth.
To sum it all up, despite the fact that bacteria can actually grow inside the refrigerator too, there are plenty of ways to counterpart it. And the main solution to keep your foods safe, clean, bacteria-free is to always maintain cleanliness in your surroundings. Following the preventive tips above will also give you a head start.
Remember, prevention is always better than any cure.