Last Updated on May 29, 2021 by CHANDRAMANI
Refrigerating food items is the best way to stop bacterial growth and prevents it from getting spoilt. The proper refrigerator temperature keeps food fresh for a longer period as well as prevents you from getting ill due to food poisoning.
The ideal refrigerator temperature for refrigerating food items is 40 °F or below i.e. 0ºC to 5ºC. Food stored at above 40 °F for two hours and one hour if the air temperature is above 90° F should not be consumed.
Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 and 140 °F but the taste, smell, or appearance of food do not change. That’s why it is difficult to tell whether a pathogen is present in the food or not.
Ideal Refrigerator Temperature
|Food||Ideal Refrigerator Temperature||How long it is safe to consume(Duration)|
|Fresh Beef, pork, veal, lamb||28°F to 32°F||1 to 2 days|
|Fresh Turkey, chicken||Below 40°F||1 to 2 days|
|All Poultry Raw (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing)||38 degrees to 40 degrees F||1 to 2 days|
|Fresh Eggs||40° F or below||3 to 5 weeks|
|Fish, Shrimp, lobster, crab, and scallops||40° F or below||Two to three days|
|Fruits||32 to 55°F||Varies|
|Vegetables||Warm season crops 45 to 55°F|
cool-season crops 32 to 35°F
How to Monitor Refrigerator Temperature
You should use a thermometer to measure your refrigerator temperature. Thermometers are inexpensive accessories that you should have in your fridge.
Refrigerator Alarms can remind you of the unfavorable temperatures in your refrigerator and hence can prevent food spoilage.
How to Refrigerate Food Safely
- Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40° F (4° C) or below. Use an appliance thermometer for measuring the temperature.
- Cover food items, so that odors do not get mixed
- Refrigerate hot food directly or cool them quickly in ice-cold water before putting them inside the refrigerator
- Cut large pieces of meat or chicken into smaller pieces before refrigeration as if any small part gets spoiled it will not affect the other pieces.
- Do open the door frequently as cold air gets easily escaped and is replaced by warm air.
- Store perishable food items on the inner side as it is the coldest part of the refrigerator
- Store fruits & vegetable in the crisper drawers as they provide an optimal storage environment
- Use the products by the date if printed on them.
- Keep the food out of the fridge for the shortest time as much as possible
- While defrosting the freezer of the refrigerator, store the food in a cooler to prevent thawing
- Keep the refrigerator clean, wipe the spills with a clean cloth. Clean surfaces regularly with hot, soapy water and then rinse.
- To remove the odors place an opened box of baking soda on the shelf.
Storage Duration For Refrigerated Foods
|Storage Times For Refrigerated Foods|
|Ground Meat, Ground Poultry, and Stew Meat|
|Ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb||1-2 days|
|Stew meats||1-2 days|
|Fresh Meat (Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork)|
|Steaks, chops, roasts||3-5 days|
|Variety meats (Tongue, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings)||1-2 days|
|Chicken or turkey, whole||1-2 days|
|Chicken or turkey, parts||1-2 days|
|Bacon and Sausage|
|Sausage, raw from meat or poultry||1-2 days|
|Smoked breakfast links, patties||7 days|
|Summer sausage labeled “Keep Refrigerated”||Unopened, 3 months;|
Opened, 3 weeks
|Hard sausage (such as Pepperoni)||2-3 weeks|
|Ham, Corned Beef|
|Ham, canned, labeled “Keep Refrigerated”||Unopened, 6-9 months;|
Opened, 3-5 days
|Ham, fully cooked, whole||7 days|
|Ham, fully cooked, half||3-5 days|
|Ham, fully cooked, slices||3-4 days|
|Corned beef in pouch with pickling juices||5-7 days|
|Hot Dogs and Luncheon Meats|
|Hot dogs||Unopened package, 2 weeks;|
Opened package, 1 week
|Luncheon meats||Unopened package, 2 weeks;|
Opened package, 3-5 days
|Deli and Vacuum-Packed Products|
|Store-prepared (or homemade) egg, chicken, tuna, ham, and macaroni salads||3-5 days|
|Pre-stuffed pork, lamb chops, and chicken breasts||1 day|
|Store-cooked dinners and entrees||3-4 days|
|Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with/USDA seal, unopened||2 weeks|
|Cooked Meat, Poultry, and Fish Leftovers|
|Pieces and cooked casseroles||3-4 days|
|Gravy and broth, patties, and nuggets||3-4 days|
|Soups and Stews||3-4 days|
|Fresh Fish and Shellfish|
|Fresh Fish and Shellfish||1-2 days|
|Fresh, in shell||3-5 weeks|
|Raw yolks, whites||2-4 days|
|Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes||Unopened, 10 days;|
Opened, 3 days
|Cooked egg dishes||3-4 days|
Storing food During Power Cuts
During power cuts, the stored food is safe for about four hours. If the food is stored for more than 2 hours above 40 °F, then it should be discarded away. You can store food in a portable fridge and power it with your vehicle battery if you have one.