How reliable is your refrigerator?
Why is refrigerator reliability a significant question? Storage of animal biological products, especially vaccines, should be in the range of 36 to 45F. The leading cause of immune response failure is vaccines that are improperly stored (Torell, R "Back to basics:Frozen Vaccine", 2006)
A study of 129 farm refrigerators found that only 1/3 of them maintained the recommended temperature (36-45F) 95 percent of the time (T.E. Fife and Others, "Case Study: Handling and management of animal health products by Idaho producers and retailers." Professional Animal Scientist 29 (June, 2013) 313-320).
Fully 1/3 of farm refrigerators maintained the recommended temperature less than 5 percent of the time!
Part of the issue may very well be the age of these refrigerators. In this study 57 percent of them were over 10 years old. Over 15 years old - 34 percent - really old. When Mom got a new one for the kitchen the used one went to the barn?
Recommendations from the study:
- Monitor refrigerator performance with a thermometer - one that can be seen easily when moving products into or out of the refrigerator.
- Min-max thermometers give very useful information, especially for monitoring unusual events that may freeze vaccines.
- Full-size refrigerators are preferred compared to mini or dormitory-type units for maintaining more uniform temperatures.