Refrigerator and Freezer Storage
Refrigerator temperatures do not destroy pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms. The lower temperature does, however, slow the growth of microorganisms already in the food. Perishable food will deteriorate, even at refrigerator temperatures, due to spoilage microorganisms, enzymes and oxidation. Time and temperature are important factors in food quality. Here are more tips:
Maintain your refrigerator between 34°F and 40°F. Refrigerator thermometers are available to help monitor the temperature inside the appliance. See more on thermometers.
Use food quickly, and don't expect food to remain high-quality for the maximum length of time. Opened and partially used items usually deteriorate more quickly than unopened packages.
Foil, plastic wraps or bags or airtight containers are the best choices for storing most foods in the refrigerator. Open dishes may result in refrigerator odors, dried-out foods, loss of nutrients and mold growth.
Don't stack foods tightly or cover refrigerator shelves with foil or any material that prevents air circulation from quickly and evenly cooling the food.
Some foods, including milk, meats and leftovers, should be kept colder than others.
The coldest part of the refrigerator is usually the area nearest the freezer compartment, but a refrigerator thermometer will provide an accurate check for each appliance.