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Proper Refrigerator Temperature

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) , bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 ° and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the "Danger Zone." That's why the Meat and Poultry Hotline of USDA advises consumers to never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour.

In general, the standard temperature of refrigerator is set by national and local authorities. Other authorities or private entity can set the refrigerator temperature which is lower than temperature set by the national authority.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends setting the refrigerator temperature at or below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit. This indicates that the maximum temperature for the actual product being refrigerated should not exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is often confused for the air temperature. The air temperature may fluctuate but the product temperature must remain at 40 or lower. The colder the product, the longer it will last. Studies found that 38 Degrees is an optimum temperature. A refrigerator unit set at 38 degrees might come on at 38 Degrees and shut off at 35 Degrees. Temperatures below 35 Degrees require a forced defrost cycle.

The refrigerator freezer compartment should be at 0 degree Fahrenheit. The refrigerator compartment section must be between 38 to 40 degrees. If the temperature in the food compartment is higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you basically have no proper refrigeration in your food. This will cause your food to spoil and may make you sick.

Bacteria capable of causing foodborne illness either don't grow or grow very slowly at correct refrigerator temperatures. You can use an appliance thermometer to verify that the temperature of the unit is correct.