Never Store Raw Meat On The Refrigerator's Top Shelf. Here's Why

Organizing a refrigerator can be tough. For many of us, there is no rhyme nor reason to where we stack various foods. There are weeks when we over shop and have so many groceries perilously stacked on top of each other that we actually "lose" food we bought, only to find our strawberries and blueberries weeks later covered with white and fuzzy mold. It happens. 

But did you know there are actually some refrigerator storage rules we are supposed to follow, and not just so it looks like organization guru Marie Kondo worked her happy magic in our fridge? (Although it is probably fair to say that no one would say "no" to Kondo organizing their refrigerator.) 

But, if you count yourself among those who store raw meat on any shelf other than the bottom shelf, you are committing a refrigerator storage faux pas that you will want to correct ASAP, and here's why. The natural juices of raw meat start to settle once we stack them in the refrigerator and chances are, they are bound to leak out and drip onto the shelves and other food, making a mess, but also potentially causing a health hazard (via Daily Mail).

Store meat in leak-proof containers

Food poisoning is real. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in any given year, an estimated 48 million people in the United States will come down with food poisoning related to foodborne diseases. This results in sickness, hospitalization, and in some cases, it can even be fatal.

In a Daily Mail article, a professor explained that when raw meat juices drip onto other foods, like salad, fruits, or vegetables, it contaminates them with bacteria. He used the example of campylobacter which is a bacteria found on raw chicken and can cause serious issues. The professor went on to explain that while the bacteria don't survive when you cook your chicken, the same doesn't happen with foods eaten raw like the carrots and celery your kids might munch on after school. 

This is why it is recommended you store raw meat — chicken, beef, pork, and fish — on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator and in plastic bags or containers that can catch or contain such leaks (via Food Network). Adding in this layer of protection will not only help keep your refrigerator clean, but it will mitigate the potential health hazard of contaminating your other food.