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Your fridge checklist for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner so while you stock up the fridge, ready for the festivities, you can make sure your cold store is in good shape.

The fridge’s job is to keep your food at around 4 degrees celsius, which will prevent or slow the growth of microorganisms such as Salmonella, E. coli and C. botulinum on your stored food.

Fridges are incredibly reliable but do depend on a little upkeep and maintenance. Try these few simple steps to keep things cool and hygienic in your fridge this Christmas.

Make sure your fridge is at the required temperature

This seems obvious; surely the refrigerator can stay cool itself? Obvious, but often ignored. These four steps will help keep your chiller cold:

1. Try a little maintenance: You can make your fridge work efficiently and save energy by cleaning the condenser coils at the back. Use a hoover with a brush attachment to remove dust from the coils, then wipe them down

2. Check the door seal: Shut a banknote or piece of paper in the seal of your fridge door. If it falls out, the seal is loose and cold air will escape, and the fridge will struggle to maintain the temperature. You can sometimes repair the seal or buy a replacement.

3. Monitor the temperature: A simple fridge thermometer is an excellent way of regularly checking the temperature in your refrigerator. While stocks last, contact us to request one of our free fridge thermometers:

4. Keep it cool: Use the “two-hour rule” for leaving items which need refrigeration out at room temperature or one hour if the room temperature is above 30°C. This also applies to leftovers, but never put hot food in the fridge as it will raise the overall temperature and could cause other food to spoil!

Clean your fridge and keep it fresh

Food can make us very sick even when it doesn’t look, smell, or taste spoiled. A regular quick clean will help avoid illness, but equally as important is an occasional deep clean. Before loading the fridge up for Christmas, follow these five steps:

1. Clean the refrigerator regularly with a disinfectant and wipe spills immediately. This helps reduce the growth of bacteria and prevents drips from thawing meat that can allow bacteria to spread from one food to another.

2. Keep foods covered and labelled with a date of preparation – Store refrigerated foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags. Check leftovers daily for signs of spoilage such as mould or a strong smell.

3. Throw away spoiled food – Anything that looks or smells suspicious should be thrown out.

4. Check ‘use by’ dates – A ‘use by’ date means the manufacturer recommends using the product by this date, but if you’re not sure or if the food looks questionable, throw it out.

5. Get rid of unwanted smells – Keeping an open box of bicarbonate of soda in your fridge will soak up unwanted smells or activated charcoal will do the same job.

Create more space and keep your fridge organised

The three golden rules will help you store more food in your fridge and keep food fresher for longer, as well as avoiding contamination or bacteria growth.

1. Let air circulate – To cool your food, the air in your fridge or cold room needs to flow. Don’t pack the refrigerator too tightly. Ice can restrict the circulation of air too, so make sure it is defrosted.

2. Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods

3. Organise the food and drinks in your fridge – It matters which shelf you store your food on, make sure food is in the best part of the fridge:

Top – The top of the refrigerator has the most consistent temperature and is best for storing foods which do not need to be cooked, like deli meats or leftovers.

Middle – Diary such as milk, cheese, butter or yoghurts

Bottom – The coldest part of the fridge is at the bottom, store dairy products, raw meat and seafood here.

*Top tip – Marinate food in the refrigerator. Bacteria can multiply rapidly on foods which are left to marinate at room temperature.

Door – The door is the warmest part of the fridge, but many households store milk there! To keep milk fresher for longer, store it in the middle shelf of the refrigerator and use the door instead for condiments and other soft drinks.

Drawers – The drawers in a fridge are designed to maintain a humidity level which is best for preserving fruits and veg.

If You Lose Electricity or your fridge breaks down

If the lights go out this Christmas, it’s worth giving a little thought as to what you’d do with your food.

1. Keep the doors closed on your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Your refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it’s unopened.

2. Discard perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 4°C for two hours or more.

If you need extra fridge space or your cold room or chiller breaks down this Christmas, call our 24/7 emergency service and we will deliver a refrigerated trailer straight to your location.

We are open throughout Christmas and can be contacted 24/7 on our emergency number 07717 753322 or email gareth@wessexeventhire.com

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