Lighten Up: The Spore War

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

When it comes to stocking our refrigerator, we all agree that selecting a variety of healthy foods is the best way to go. Fruit, vegetables, and lean protein sources should fill the shelves and crisper drawers, leaving little room for empty-calorie “junk foods.” As careful as we are at the grocery store, however, there may be hidden culprits lurking in the fridge that are just waiting to undo all our good intentions: bacteria and mold.

A dark, moist environment is exactly what mold needs to thrive, and that makes the refrigerator a prime piece of real estate for these detrimental spores. Like us, mold spores love healthy options, especially fruit. How many times have we purchased a quart of strawberries, with the best of intentions, only to have it end up getting pushed to the back of the shelf; and once we find it again, maybe a week later, those blushing berries are now covered with fuzzy white mold?

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While we probably end up discarding the berries, there is a high probability that those mold spores have migrated to other parts of the refrigerator. In order to keep your appliance — and the rest of your food — free from spores and other hidden bacteria, a though cleaning every few months is a prudent idea. Mold can hide in the most unlikely places, such as the rubber seals along the refrigerator door, and the underside of the crisper drawers. It also makes its way to the insides of jar lids so frequent checks for fuzzy colonization there too is a good food safety plan.

Fresh, healthy food is always a good investment in your health and well-being. Protect your investment and keep an eye out for bacteria in the fridge…and win the spore war!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.