Unless it’s recently stopped running (or run away), you probably haven’t paid much attention to your refrigerator lately. Despite enjoying status among the largest and most frequently used appliances in your home, the refrigerator is a bit of an unsung hero, quietly humming away in your kitchen, keeping lettuce crisp and ice cream velvety smooth. But refrigeration is about so much more than fresh greens and tasty frozen treats; the humble fridge is also the first line of defense against foodborne illness.
Historical trivia: The first practical, ice-cooled refrigerator rail car was invented in Chicago for Swift & Co. in 1878, revolutionizing the meat packing industry and changing the way we eat forever. (Wikipedia – Gustavus Franklin Swift)
According to the CDC, there are 31 pathogens known to cause foodborne illness. In the United States, these pathogens, including norovirus, salmonella, and even Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), are responsible for an estimated 9.4 million cases annually. Many of these cases go beyond typical food poisoning symptoms, resulting in 56,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths.