Toxic RefrigeratorA person working in an AT&T building in San Jose, California, decided to clean out an office refrigerator that had apparently been unplugged for some time on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, the combination of smells from rotten food and disinfectant was overpowering, and another building employee called 911 after smelling the fumes.  Seven people were sent to the hospital, and a total of 28 were treated for nausea and vomiting.  A hazmat team was called in to check out the situation.

According to the Associated Press, the person nearest to the smell was unaffected because she is an allergy sufferer. 

The National Ag Safety Database website has a page dedicated to Food Storage for Quality and Safety.  The page lists information about how long certain foods can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer, and notes that proper refrigerator temperatures fall between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Other food safety storage tips include:

  • Refrigerate leftovers, perishable foods, and prepared foods within two hours of preparation or purchase unless the temperature is above 90°F.  Then reduce the time frame to one hour.
  • When marinating foods, always do so in the refrigerator.
  • Defrost food in a refrigerator over night.  For quick thawing, submerge food in cold water in an airtight container or use a microwave.
  • When preparing leftover food products for storage, separate large amounts of hot leftovers into small, shallow containers, allowing for a rapid reduction in temperature.  Hot food can be placed directly in the fridge.