There is nothing worse than opening the fridge in the office lunchroom, only to have your fervent appetite spoiled by the smell of sour milk and rotten food.
This is a reality that many of us face at work every day. But fear not! The harmful bacteria and head spinning odours can be avoided. Read on to find out how…
First let’s establish the causes and the associated dangers. It’s safe to assume that the origin of a bad fridge smell almost always is food gone off. While the smell is unpleasant, it’s the internal mould and bacteria party that we should be worried about. It’s a common misperception that the refrigerator prevents bacteria from breeding, however the reality is quite the contrary. A cold environment in addition to your colleague’s dinner from last night, and the punnet of strawberries that have been sitting in the fridge for a week, provide a perfect breeding ground for psychrophilic bacteria. Some other bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes thrive at cold temperatures, and if present, will grow in the refrigerator and could cause illness. Most of us would be aware of the recent Listeria outbreak as a result of contaminated Rockmelon and the serious consequences of this bacteria.
Consuming food that has been infested with these nasty germs can have serious health impacts.
Here’s what you can do about it.
Keep it chill. When was the last time you checked your fridge temperature? Bacteria’s thrive in temperatures above 6 degrees Celsius, so aim to keep it 4 and below. Try checking the temp once a week, and avoid standing with the door open!
Don’t overstuff it. Cold air needs to circulate to keep food chilled and bulldoze bacteria, and it can’t do that in a crowded environment. Having a crowded fridge also makes it harder to tell what’s good and what’s not. Allocate shelves or sections to each employee, that way everyone can monitor a space of their own.
Don’t spill the milk. Milk, or any dairy products harbour bacteria more so than anything else in the fridge. Wipe off any drip running down the carton after you pour your coffee. Take the time to ensure the lid is always fixed on the butter and consider leaving the foil seal on.
At Duticall, we recommend to our clients a thorough clean at least once per month. It’s important to throw out anything that’s obviously abandoned and is now the office science project. We will schedule a full service as part of the regular office cleaning service and we recommend this be done at the last full weekend office cleaning service for the month, that way everyone knows when it’s due.