Refrigerator Cross-contamination

Myth:  Cross-contamination doesn’t happen in the refrigerator — it is too cold in there for germs to survive.


FACT:  Some bacteria can survive and even grow in cool, moist environments like the refrigerator.   In fact, Listeria monocytogenes  grows at temperatures as low as 35 °F.  A recent study from NSF International revealed that the refrigerator produce compartment was one of the “germiest” places in the kitchen, containing Salmonella sp. and Listeria sp.  In your refrigerator, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.  Clean your refrigerator regularly with hot water and soap and clean up food and beverage spills immediately to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your refrigerator.   Don’t forget the walls and undersides of the shelves.

Partnership for Food Safety Education