If you have contaminated food in your fridge, throwing it away isn’t enough to stop the spread of listeria and other food-borne illnesses.
That’s the message the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reiterating amid recent listeria and other food-borne outbreaks.
Earlier this month, the CDC announced one person died and 13 were hospitalized across six states in a listeria outbreak linked to contaminated deli meat and cheese. Illnesses were reported in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Maryland, where one person died.
Listeria outbreaks have also been linked to soft cheeses, mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs and a wide range of other foods.
The CDC says foods and surfaces become cross-contaminated. From there, the germs spread to shelves and drawers, then to other foods and the human hands that touch them.
But health experts say there’s a simple solution for stopping the spread of listeria: clean your fridge.
Take out all removable parts and wash them with hot, soapy water. After you clean the inside of the fridge, the CDC recommends adding a tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water and using that water to wipe down the fridge one more time.