A refrigerator is one of the most significant pieces of equipment in your office kitchen for keeping food safe. Nevertheless, a refrigerator can be a key cause of food poisoning and a health hazard if not managed well. And when food makes your workers sick, it can be a serious detriment to workplace health, morale, and safety.
When an office fridge is shared, it can be too easy to mishandle food, thus making it a breeding ground for foodborne illnesses. Fortunately, with commercial cleaning services and the right prevention steps, food poisoning can be avoided.
Can Bacteria Really Grow in Refrigerators?
The environment inside a refrigerator normally creates an inhospitable environment for many bacteria. Bacteria exist everywhere in nature, and when they have favorable temperatures, they tend to grow rapidly. Therefore, the low temperatures in a refrigerator slow bacterial growth and thus prolongs the shelf-life of food. Notwithstanding, some bacteria can grow at cold temperatures, preferring some food hosts over others. Some make their presence known by covering food with fuzzy growth and unappetizing colors, while others pose their threat without any visible evidence.
What Types of Bacteria Grow in Cold Temperatures?
Cold temperatures stop the growth of some bacteria by imposing dormancy on them until the temperatures warm up. These bacteria begin growing when the refrigerated foodstuffs get thawed or reach temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended setting for your fridge.
These bacteria cause unattractive growth in a rainbow of colors on frozen foods. Not only is the food unappealing, but it also develops bad smells and tastes, and when eaten, it tends to cause food poisoning.
Different from spoilage bacteria, pathogenic bacteria don’t leave traces of their presence, such as rainbow colors and fuzzy growth. They lurk unseen on refrigerated food without even a funny taste or stinky hint. These are the hazardous bacteria – disease-causing organisms that can make your employees sick.
How Do These Types of Bacteria Endanger the Health of Employees?
When your employees eat food contaminated by these bacteria, it can lead to serious health problems like food poisoning. This can result in diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and perhaps even a fever. These symptoms can transpire within a few hours to a few days after the food containing bacteria is eaten.
3 Easy Ways to Secure the Comfort and Safety of Employees
Monitor the Refrigerators’ Temperatures
You should always ensure that the office refrigerator is kept at 40° F or below to best slow microbial growth in foods. Bacteria growth can double in a very short while when the refrigerator is set to warmer temperatures. Getting an office thermometer can greatly help you monitor daily temperatures if you don’t have one.
Ensure That All the Food Is Stored Correctly
Getting clean, air-tight, covered containers can help store food well to avoid cramping all the food together. Additionally, foods like meat and cheese that can drip should be stored on the bottom shelves. As a precaution, label every single shelf so that your employees know where to store their food. You should also let them know that any out-of-date food will be thrown away.
Clean the Refrigerators Regularly
For a fridge that sees its share of mess and is used heavily, you should always ensure that it’s cleaned regularly. You can either set up a cleaning schedule or get your office fridges cleaned by outsourcing your office cleaning. One advantage of outsourcing cleaning is that professional cleaners are well-versed with cleaning agents that can kill germs and bacteria without posing any other health hazards. For example, using bleach may kill germs, but it can also contaminate any food that’s still in the fridge.
A clean and sanitary refrigerator is one of the keys to good office health. And since your office fridges are far from being the only health hazard, you should always ensure that your workspace is always neat. Keeping your office clean is essential to keeping your workers happy and healthy — happy workers are the cornerstone of a successful business.
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