Stacking the refrigerator

It is important to stack items correctly in refrigerators. This reduces cross contamination and keeps food safe to eat.

Cross contamination

Cross contamination is when bacteria from a raw food is transferred to

  • a cooked product
  • or a ready to eat product.

Safety rules

To minimise cross contamination, store foods as directed on the label and follow these safety rules:

  • store raw meat near the bottom of the fridge, or in a covered tray on a fridge shelf
  • keep raw food covered and separated from cooked food
  • cover cooked food that is not likely to be reheated before serving
  • store cooked food on a shelf above uncooked food
  • use small, shallow containers for left overs
  • arrange food in your fridge so that cold air can easily circulate
  • avoid overstocking the fridge
  • defrost your refrigerator regularly
  • keep food with strong odours well wrapped
  • avoid storing food with strong odours near food like milk and cream
  • avoid placing milk in the fridge door, where the temperature may vary.

For more information contact Environmental Health.

Last updated: 21 September 2015

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