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Correct cooling: Frequently asked questions on refrigerating foods in private households

BfR FAQ of 13 February 2023

In addition to handling food hygienically, the right temperatures during transport and storage are also important to avoid foodborne infections. Roughly 100,000 illnesses that have been caused by the presence of microorganisms in food, in particular bacteria, viruses or parasites, are reported in Germany every year, and the real figure could be much higher. Foodborne infections are usually self-limiting and accompanied by stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. For people whose body’s defences against foodborne infections are impaired or not yet fully developed (small children, pregnant women, the elderly or people with previous illnesses), they can also be life-threatening in extreme cases.

Against the background of global climate change and due to high energy costs, consumers are wondering whether it is possible to adjust or slightly increase the temperature of the freezer and refrigerator in the home to reduce electricity consumption without endangering food safety. Further questions arise from possible power outages, in particular how to deal with chilled and frozen food in private households. Refrigeration of food slows down or stops the growth of most bacteria and extends the storage time of perishable food. Freezing plays also an important role in extending the maximum shelf life of food. In the following, the BfR has compiled frequently asked questions on the cooling and frozen storage of food in private households.



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Correct cooling: Frequently asked questions on refrigerating foods in private households 88.9 KB


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