Is your refrigerator a clean and safe place? This is especially important since many food-borne illnesses can be avoided simply by maintaining safe practices in the fridge. It is important to always use common sense, as well as your 5 senses, when dealing with items in your fridge. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that your fridge does not become home to yucky and potentially harmful bacteria:

1) The doors are the warmest part of your fridge, so it is best to not store any dairy products there.

2) In order to prevent food spoilage and guarantee optimal freshness, Health Canada advises setting the temperature in your fridge at or below 4 °C (40 °F) and your freezer at or below -18 °C (0 °F). If your fridge does not have a thermometer you can purchase one at any kitchen store.

3) Each item in your fridge requires an optimal refrigeration and freezing time. For recommended times for different food items, please consult Health Canada’s website at www.healthycanadians.gc.ca

4) Respect expiration dates: they are there to protect you!

5) Food that is labelled with a “sell by” date should be consumed within 5 days of that date.

6) Always examine your food before you prepare or eat it – when food starts to spoil, it often looks or smells bad. Some food, however, may appear alright but can nevertheless harbour dangerous bacteria – hence the importance of respecting expiration dates!

In terms of the environment, there are many ways for you to make your fridge greener. Here are a few tips:

1) Refrigerators use about 11% of a household’s total energy consumption, so it is a good idea to buy Energy Star endorsed refrigerators, which use less energy and can save you money (Earth Day.ca).

2) It is important not to waste food. Plan your meals before you go to the store so you don’t buy too much.

3) You’re also more likely to use produce if it’s easier for you, so try cleaning and cutting up your veggies before storing them in a reusable container in your fridge so they’re ready when you need them. Make sure to date the container!

4) When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge? It is recommended that you wash the inside of your fridge every couple of weeks. Try using a non-toxic solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Baking soda is also recommended. Lemon juice will clean greasy spills!

5) Keep a box of baking soda to absorb unpleasant odours.