Over the years we have all heard advice related to food safety. Some of this advice rings true, while other guidance is just plain wrong. Our goal is to help you protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness. Hampton Roads Food Safety Company and the Partnership for Food Safety Education have information for consumers and educators that debunk common home food safety myths.

Bacteria that can cause illnesses grow rapidly in the“temperature danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F. Keeping a constant home refrigerator of 40°F is one of the most effective ways to reduce cases of listeriosis and other foodborne diseases. There are a lot of “myths” around temperature control, including people can know the temperature of their refrigerator without even measuring ! This year we are taking on consumer myths and ideas about the home refrigerator.


Common Myth

I know my refrigerator is cold enough - I can feel it when I open it! Anyway, I have a dial to adjust the temperature.
Fact: Unless you have a thermometer built into your fingers , you need to use a thermometer to ensure your refrigerator is at or below 40°F. And that dial ? It is important , but it is not a thermometer. As many as 43% of home refrigerators have been found to be at temperatures above 40°F. So, those refrigerators are in the food safety “danger zone” where harmful bacteria can multiply and make you and your family sick. Slow the growth of bacteria by using a refrigerator thermometer to determine if your refrigerator is at 40°F, or below. And if it is not, adjust the temperature dial to make it colder. Then, use your refrigerator thermometer to measure again.