Salad drawer 'most dangerous place in fridge'

A study has revealed that the salad drawer is the most risky and dirtiest place in the fridge, lodging 8,000 bacteria every square centimetre.

Researchers have warned that the fridge salad drawers can contain 750 times the level of bacteria considered safe.

Some of the potentially killer bugs found include E.coli, salmonella and listeria. 

Tests on samples from the salad drawers of 30 frost free home fridges showed they had an average of 7,850 bacteria colony-forming units per square centimetre (cfu/cm2).

Some from which swabs were taken had as many as 129,000 cfu/cm2.

The standard EC recommendation for 'clean' food preparation and storage surfaces is for 0-10 cfu/cm2.

"The whole purpose of a fridge is to keep food safe and minimise the chances of bacteria and mould growth so it is worrying that in some there is clearly a substantial problem, as the research indicates," the Daily Mail quoted Paul McDonnell of Microban Europe in Cannock, Staffordshire, which commissioned the research, as saying. 

"The performance of fridges is especially important in warmer weather, when high ambient temperatures mean that the potential for bacteria to multiply is high."

The researchers have also claimed that if the fridges are not cleaned regularly, colonies of germs can build up.

"The low temperatures of fridges will only inhibit the growth of bacteria in tandem with regular cleaning. When bacteria get a foothold and no cleaning is taking place, they will tend to multiply over a period of time," McDonnell said.

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