I admit, I troll for articles on cleaning, disinfection, outbreaks and whatever else tickles my fancy as a way to find potential blog topics. Picking a topic for the blog is not just about finding an article or using a question that has been posed. The hardest part, at least for me, is finding a connection to the story. Some weeks I know exactly how I’ll start the blog or how I may personalize the story, while other weeks I have a topic that just doesn’t “speak to me”. This week’s topic speaks to me and will likely speak to you too!
How many of you share the office fridge to store your lunch or leftovers after going out to lunch? Do any of you have that one (or two) colleagues who believe there is a magical fairy or elf that comes in and cleans up the mess in the fridge – you know the stuff that horror stories are made of? How many times have you opened the door of the fridge only to have your nose recoil in disgust because it smells like something curled up and died in there? Tell the truth – how many of you have had that happen at home? It happened to me about a week ago after being away on a business trip for a few days. It took me a couple of days, but I found the culprit. It was a piece of steak that even when enclosed in Tupperware managed to smell like….well I don’t want to think about it anymore. Let’s just say a skunk would have smelled far more pleasant.
According to a recent survey, “Office fridges are an interesting social experiment on people’s warring definitions of cleanliness, hygiene, and manners.” The survey asked 1000 adults when the last time their office fridge was cleaned. The average was 93 days! Of the 1000 people surveyed almost half of them lacked even basic food hygiene knowledge! If you’re unsure what your food hygiene knowledge is, check out the FDA Refrigeration and Food Safety website. Cold temperatures will help slow the growth of many potential pathogens, but it does not stop them all! The website also includes the length of time you should leave cooked or uncooked food in the fridge. Did you know an open package of hot dogs should be tossed after a week? Who is able to eat an entire package of hot dogs in a week unless you have a small army to feed!
If you’re unsure how to clean the office fridge, here’s a few tips:
- First, draw straws. The short straw gets to clean the fridge or you could just have the person who made the biggest mistake that week clean the fridge.
- Grab some reusable latex cleaning gloves or disposable vinyl gloves. Don’t be afraid to double glove!
- Find a N95 respirator to put a mental & physical “barrier” between you and the gross stuff
- Make sure you have HEAVY DUTY Garbage Bags. Don’t chintz on the cheap bags, if they rip or tear you’ll have to touch everything twice!
- Be sure to have a disinfectant that will kill even the nastiest of bugs
- Stock up on Paper Towels
- Have Coffee (beans or grounds) out and ready to sniff after cleaning up to get the remnants of any nasty odors out of your nose!
The long and the short is, be an adult. Unless you work in an office with a magical fairy or elf, clean up after yourself and for the love of Pete, do NOT leave your food in the fridge! If you don’t eat it, take it home or throw it out!