Ask the expert: Storing food and medications in the same fridge

By: August 31st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is it OK to store food and medications, such as vaccines, in the same fridge?

A: It is not acceptable to store medications, including vaccines, in the same refrigerator. In fact, there should be a separate refrigerator for meds and for food, and each should be clearly labeled on the door as to the contents.

Also, as a reminder, eating, drinking, smoking, and the application of cosmetics should not be allowed in a laboratory or an area where medications are prepared, mixed,  etc.

–Kenneth S. Weinberg, BA, MSc, PhD, consultant in environmental health, safety, and toxicology; Safdoc Systems.
www.safdocsystems.com

See also:
Ask the expert: Food, specimens, and refrigerators

Comments

I would imagine that even worse than storing food and vaccines in the same refrigerator would be to store biohazardous blood samples in the same fridge as vaccines. Comments?

Can you site a regulation or even a standard on this? OSHA clearly does not allow food in areas where there is blood or body fluids, but medications are not included in this.

The reason for separating medications and food obviously is to eliminate the potential for contamination of the food or the medication.

Back in the days when you poured medications out of a bottle or had to mix a medication and store it in the refrigerator, this may have been an issue, but in today’s healthcare system. The issues are not the same.

Would I keep chemo meds in a food refrigerator – No. Would I allow a few vials of vaccine to be stored in a sealed plastic container in a med refrigerator? Yes.

Then there are the fuzzies. What about oral contrast media? Fizzy laxitives? Orange juice in cans for areas that administer insulin?

Having a separate medication refrigerator for a single vial of vaccine would appear to be excessive.

That should be would I allow a few vials of vaccine in a food refrigerator.

I have fridge, which was used for keeping medicine. But now medicines have been cleared from that fridge. Can I keep food on that fridge?? There is a medicine smell inside the fridge. Is it safe to keep food inside?? Pls suggest.

 

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