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UV Light? Answered

Would it be a good idea to install an UV Light to avoid mold, or is this not necessary?

2 Replies

mikeasaurusBest Answer (author)2017-06-25

I think UV light renders listeria organisms inactive, so in that regard it's a precaution that can help. However, I've never used it before - only washing the outside of my meat with brine, the results were great.

If you do this, I'd be interested in knowing your results with and without! Good luck!

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NiytOwl (author)2017-07-20

What about an ozone generator? This is what commercial facilities use when aging meat to inhibit bacteria and fungi. Ozone is a very strong oxidator. Because the refrigerator is pretty well sealed, there likely won't be enough oxygen inside for the ozone generator to create sufficient ozone. You will need a way to inject it. I suggest an aquarium air pump feeding a small ozone generator housed in an HDPE plastic drink bottle (the kind soda comes in), with the output going into the fridge through silicone or 304 stainless steel tubing. You only need to put ozone in once to get things nice and sterile, assuming the fridge has a good seal, then again if the door is opened. Duration of injection will depend on the kind of generator you use and how much ozone it produces. Too much ozone will cause the fat to become rancid (well, more rancid than it already will be) and will have adverse affects on the fridge components, so use the least amount necessary to produce the desired germicidal effect. 1 ppm of ozone should be enough to kill all the bacteria and mold in an hour. (Note: feel free to double check this. I am NOT an expert!!!) The generator will have a rated output, usually in mg/hour, so do the calculation:

(cubic feet of space in fridge) x 218.153 / (generator capacity in mg/hour) = Number of seconds to run the generator to attain 1 ppm of ozone

Most consumer refrigerators use ABS plastic inside, and that is reasonably stable with ozone, but exposed steel or aluminum parts (the evaporator coil is my primary concern) can corrode. However, since the amount of ozone is so small, this is likely to be a problem only if you are adding a lot of ozone, which you are not. If it still concerns you, then get a fridge with a plate-style evaporator (an old dorm-room fridge is an example - the plate doubled as the freezer area). Paint it and all tubing with polyurethane varnish, which is ozone-inert. DON'T PAINT THE THERMOSTAT (it'll have to deal with the ozone, as well as the fan - there's no way to seal them and still preserve their function). Allow this to cure fully - some sources say up to a month - to make it food safe. Seal up any pass-thru holes and seams with silicone caulk (also ozone-inert).

One thing that wasn't covered in this very informative article - sterilize your fridge. If you're using an old fridge, there's probably mold spores and bacteria hiding in every crevice. Vinegar diluted with an equal part of water is the recommended disinfectant. Spray it everywhere, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off. But if you use ozone, you can forego this. One more benefit of ozone - if you add some just before opening the fridge after 45 days, you'll knock down most of that "horrendous" aroma!

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