There are three things to consider when deciding whether or not your freezer temperature is cold enough.
First, you must know the ideal temperature range for long-term freezer storage.
You have to determine how important it is to get your food chilled down fast, and finally, you need to figure out the minimum temperature your freezer will go to preserve your food over time.
Most people know they should keep their freezer below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but what does this mean, and does the temperature of your freezer matter?
How cold does it need to be for your food and other items to stay safe there? For answers to these questions and more, check out this guide on how cold it is cold enough for your freezer.
Zero degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal freezer temperature, which means that if you keep your freezer’s temperature at 10 degrees, it may not be cold enough for your freezer. Although at this temperature, it can still keep food safe but take longer to freeze and can reduce how long the product can last.
Is Food Safe in Freezer at 10 Degrees?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends keeping the freezer temperature at 0°F to keep food safe.
However, the FDA says the food is still safe to eat if it has been in the freezer for an extended period and has not been above 40°F. So, 10 degrees is cold enough to keep food safe in the freezer.
Your freezer temperature will affect how quickly food freezes and how long it stays frozen. A freezer that’s working well should maintain a temperature of 0 °F or lower.
This low temperature helps keep foods safe from harmful bacteria, mold, and other contaminants that can cause illness if consumed.
Most experts recommend keeping your freezer temperature below 5°F to prevent frozen foods from thawing.
A fluctuation of plus or minus 3 degrees is okay, but if you notice that your food freezes before it’s completely thawed, make sure that your temperature stays at 0 °F or lower.
Although 10 degrees is cold enough to keep food safe in a freezer, you should keep your refrigerator temperature at 40°F or less to keep food safe and quality.
It’s best to keep food in your freezer for three months before you freeze it again. The only way to know if food is safe beyond that time frame is by doing a smell and taste test.
If the food still looks and smells normal, then it’s probably still safe to eat, but don’t take any chances with meat or poultry products.
If your freezer malfunctions and fails to maintain a temperature of 0°F or lower, throw away any food that has been there for more than two hours.
You don’t want to risk getting sick because you didn’t take proper safety precautions.
What Is the Minimum Temperature for a Freezer?
The minimum temperature for a freezer is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some experts recommend setting your freezer to 5 or 10 degrees Fahrenheit if you plan on storing meat or other perishable items in it.
It is because meat can spoil at temperatures above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you’re planning on storing meat in your freezer, you should set the temperature to 5 or 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to use your freezer to store frozen dinners, ice cream, or other non-perishable items, then it’s safe to set it to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is generally safe as long as you remember not to leave food in your freezer any longer than necessary.
As you can see, proper freezer temperature is an essential factor in keeping your food safe.
When setting your freezer’s temperature, remember that higher temperatures are better for perishable items and lower temperatures are better for non-perishable items.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about where to store your food on that spectrum because it depends on what foods you’ll be keeping.
Your freezer will likely have temperature controls. If you set your freezer’s temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, check these controls to ensure it stays at your desired temperature.
If you’re storing meat in your freezer, set it to 5 or 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s also important to remember that some of your freezer’s contents will affect its temperature.
For example, filling your freezer with a lot of ice cream and frozen dinners will lower your freezer’s overall temperature.
If you want to accurately measure your freezer’s cold, remove these items first.
It’s also important to remember that you should never store food in your freezer for more than two months.
If you need to store frozen items longer, transfer them to your refrigerator. It will extend their shelf life and keep them safe.
The bottom line is that a freezer temperature degree is essential for food safety.
You should also check your freezer’s temperature regularly, especially if you store meat or other perishable items.
Remember that some foods can also affect your freezer’s overall temperature, so remember to remove them before measuring how cold it is.
How to Set Temperature for a Freezer?
To set your freezer temperature degree, follow the steps in the table below. Before that, know that each freezer manufacturer differs, so the control might not be in the same place.
So check the manual guide for your control panel.
- Access the control panel.
- Look for the factory setting.
- Find the dial that controls the temperature of your freezer, and adjust the dial to ensure the freezer is cold enough. It is usually the dial’s highest number, but check the instructions to be sure.
- Leave it for 24 hours to ensure it’s the ideal freezer temperature.
Is 10 or 12 Degrees Cold Enough for a Fridge?
According to the FDA, the average refrigerator temperature is between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the ideal refrigerator temperature is between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 or 12 degrees might not be cold enough to keep food safe.
If you set your fridge below 32 degrees, your food will start to freeze. If it’s above 40 degrees, your food will spoil quickly.
So if you’re wondering whether 10 or 12 degrees is cold enough for your fridge, the answer is no.
How Do I Know If My Freezer Is Maintaining a Safe Food Temperature?
You must use an appliance thermometer to check if your freezer maintains a safe food temperature.
To ensure it’s working correctly and keep your food safe, you should know its temperature when the freezer is actively working and when the power is out.
Let’s look at the table below to see what the difference is.
|Freezer Temperature with Power||Freezer Temperature Without Power|
|It would be best if you keep an appliance thermometer in the freezer.||Keep an appliance thermometer in the freezer.|
|Ensure the temperature is at 0°F as the ideal freezer temperature.||Ensure the temperature is at 0°F.|
|Check the thermometer regularly to ensure the freezer temperature is still at 0°F; if the freezer maintains 0°F, the freezer keeps food safe.||If there’s a power outage and they eventually restore the light, check the thermometer; if it reads 40°F, your freezer is working correctly to keep food safe.|
If you don’t have an appliance thermometer, check to see if your freezer has a temperature display.
If so, and it reads 0°F or below, your freezer maintains a safe food temperature.
If you don’t see any numbers on your display or if it’s above 0°F, there may be something wrong with your freezer.
If you’re still unsure whether your freezer is maintaining a safe food temperature, contact your local public health department or food safety inspector.
They will be able to tell you if your freezer temperature is safe.
You should always ensure that you set your freezer to 0°F, which is an ideal freezer temperature to keep bacteria from growing in the food.
If you put your freezer at 10 degrees, it isn’t cold enough for your freezer. Although your food will be kept safe, it will take so long to get cold, affecting the food.