The vegetable and meat compartments in the fridge took the top two germiest spots in the NSF's 2013 study
. Microbiologists swabbed items from 14 kitchens and found that these drawers were a hotbed for Salmonella
, yeast, and mold. Salmonella
is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S., according to FoodSafety.gov
, and can cause diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. To avoid contamination, keep meats and vegetables separate, wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling foods, and rinse all produce. To clean compartments, remove them from the fridge and wash with a clean sponge and mild detergent mixed with warm water, according to NSF. Rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel.