By: Andrew Limberg

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – You may think that most of the food you throw in the refrigerator will last longer, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, there are some items that don’t need to be put in the fridge at all.

Dr. Lydia Johnson, Director of Food Safety for the Pa. Department of Agriculture, joined “The KDKA Morning News” to discuss what should and what shouldn’t go in the refrigerator.

“Refrigeration is actually used to slow growth of bacteria or ripening of some produce but some produce like potatoes, it alters the taste,” she said. “If you put a potato in the refrigerator, that starch turns to sugar and you get a funny taste. There is quality versus food safety.”

So, leave those spuds out of the fridge.

When it comes to produce , a lot of them have “natural barriers” to protect it from bacterial growth. However, once you break that barrier, it needs to be refrigerated like avocados and tomatoes.

Will the refrigerator help your bread last longer? Dr. Johnson says no.

“That’s a bad idea because basically it gets hard. Any kind of baked good, you should keep at room temperature,” she said.

She did say there is an exception.

“Any type of baked good that has a cream or custard in it, that needs to be in the refrigerator,” she said.

What about hot sauce, once you open it should it go in the fridge?

“[It has] a vinegar base so the acidity will allow it to be at room temperature,” she said.

She also said to make sure you read the label anytime you have a question on whether or not a product should be refrigerated after opening.

Butter, according to Dr. Johnson, should stay in the fridge. What about eggs? They need to be in the refrigerator at all times due to the threat of salmonella poisoning.

Some people like to keep ketchup and mustard out after opening. Dr. Johnson says that you should put it in the refrigerator because, “you’ve broken (the) seal and you’ve incorporated different types of bacteria and you don’t want to give them the opportunity to grow.”

Listen to the “KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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