Photo: Nicolas Barbier Garreau
Office fridges are an interesting social experiment on people’s warring definitions of cleanliness, hygiene, and manners. Every day, silent battles are fought in office kitchens over food storage in the workplace fridge. Relationships have been ruined because of them, harsh judgments made.
When is it okay to use someone else’s hot sauce bottle? Is it a mercy killing to throw out someone’s two-day leftovers, or is the action a call to arms? Shouldn’t that pizza be wrapped in plastic rather than just sitting there gathering bacteria?
In a new survey exclusively shared with Ladders, appliance repair company Go-Assist found that when it comes to cleaning the office fridge, cleanliness is one of the last things on our minds.
Survey: average office fridge doesn’t get cleaned for 93 days
When Go-Assist asked 1,000 U.K. adults about the last time their office fridge was cleaned, the survey participants’ answers are alarming to anyone who likes storing their food in clean, sanitized spaces. The average answer was 93 days.
If this answer isn’t sounding alarm bells, it wasn’t sounding enough alarm bells in participants’ heads either. Almost half of them lacked basic food hygiene knowledge. 49% of participants reported not knowing how to adjust the temperature in their office fridge or what the correct temperature should be.
These answers would get you a failing grade by a health inspector. The Food Standards Agency, a U.K. regulatory department, requires businesses to keep cold food at 8°C or below and hot food at 63°C or above.
“According to our research, a worrying amount of people wrongly believe they don’t need to regularly clean their fridge. But even in a cool environment, food can go off and bacteria can rapidly contaminate other items.” Go-Assist spokesperson James Holden said about the fridge cleaning misconceptions. “We recommend doing a deep clean of your fridge every four weeks.”
Okay, so we need to be cleaning our office fridges more often, so we don’t get a side of bacteria with our stored sandwiches.
Now, you can fight over whose duty this should be.