Please date all food items in refrigerator or it will be tossed, after 3 days


OK, how would your interpret the note on the breakroom fridge "Please date all food items in refrigerator or it will be tossed, after 3 days" You've been working somewhere for 10 months and no one has ever mentioned anything in particular about the fridge rules. You usually bring your lunch to work and put it in the fridge along with all the other unlabled food items, without a problem, assuming that you are required to label anything that you plan to store in the fridge for more than 3 days, or it will be tossed.

You are working on a very, very busy shift and aren't able to get to lunchbreak until 1:45 pm because of several factors including needing to prepare one of your patients for transfer to a larger facility. You finally break free and go to the fridge to get your 2 tupperwares, one with that delicious homemade lasagne that you made the other day, the other with that excellent salad you brought. You open the door of the fridge and find it totally empty. You stand in shock and ask someone "Where is my lunch?"

You are told that someone must have cleaned out the fridge and thrown everything away. You look in the trash, no signs of your containers. Your blood sugar is probably 70 at this point, btw.

You go to the nursing station and ask what happened to my food!? The unit secretary, who has already demonstrated the fact that she is in a foul mood today informs you that you should have labeled it, you're out of luck.

Hello! Is there a problem here? Uh, I've been here all day, is there a particular reason why the current shift was not informed that someone (One of the techs and the assistant charge nurse) was going to throw away everything in the breakroom fridge, including with my two nice tupperware containers and their most excellent contents?

Needless to say I gave everyone, including my manager, an extensive earful of my livid feelings on the matter, much to the bemusement of my co-workers. :banghead:

Specializes in CVICU.

This happened all the time when I worked in the ER. We had a fridge Nazi there! I don't know why these types can't wait until the end of their shifts and/or make an announcement that they are going to do this before throwing out our nourishment!


177 Posts

Specializes in ALF, Medical, ER. Has 4 years experience.

That happens alot where I work. We too have a sign on our refrig saying to date items with your name or they will be tossed. According to our manager it is a joint commission rule and also for sanitary reasons (which I agree with. if the fridge doesnt get cleaned out within a couple of weeks there is some nasty looking stuff in there.) However I think that if this was a relatively new rule and someone was going to clean the fridge out, they should have at least everyone on staff that day if they had anything in there they wanted to keep instead of just tossing it. Also since you had just put it in there that day, couldn't they tell that it was fresh? Did they at least save your tupperware?

BabyLady, BSN, RN

2,300 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

If you have ever had to clean out a work refrigerator with 2 month old rotten tuna salad in me, you would "get it".

Yes...I did.

I don't think it's a lot to ask of people to date things. It's really for that small sector that likes to bring a week's worth of frozen foods, etc.

It also keeps the germs down for everyone.

Specializes in CVICU.

Our fridge Nazi would literally throw out everything, even food which had been purchased earlier in the day and hastily thrown in the fridge when, god forbid, an actual patient with an emergency would roll into the ER. The poor nurse would hurriedly put the food in the fridge, only to find out that it got tossed 2 hours later when she went back to eat it!

prmenrs, RN

4,565 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control. Has 42 years experience.

If I saw that sign on the unit fridge, esp if there had been recent problems, I'd grab a label and a marker, and mark my stuff. And I might start leaving marker and labels in my locker for easy access.

Every once in a while, ya gotta follow the directions!!

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

I've never had a problem with my food getting tossed as long as I put my name and the date on it. I've had co-workers eat my food when I wasn't there, but never lost a meal to the fridge Nazis.

Seriously.......somebody's got to clean the thing out once in a while, otherwise you have stuff giving birth to God knows what in there. I've worked in places where they NEVER cleaned out the employee fridge, and it stank so bad I wouldn't even put my lunch in it. After several hours of cleaning up poop, blood, vomit and other bodily fluids, who wants to eat food that's been sitting in a stinky fridge? BLECH!!

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

wondering what they would do if they saw a labeled container, signifying it was 2 mos old?

would they leave it in there or would they toss it?

all that said, i do agree w/labeling.


Specializes in CVICU.

LOL, our food Nazi once threw out a bag of unlabeled, but completely new food, only to leave an opened and labeled bottle of milk which had expired 3 weeks prior...


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

I had an old manager that was a frig nazi. She could care less if their were adequate staff and sometimes let a 24 bed unit run with 2 RNs and 2 aides. But she worried about that frig and had time to throw out everyone's tuperware.


6 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, LTC, school nursing. Has 16 years experience.

Oh yeah it's great to throw out the stuff growing in there but can't they save our containers? I once took a complete meal in to my staff, spoke with the dietary manager on the way to my unit, she asked what I had brought and later that morning throw it all away including the dishes! That was the entire on duty staff's meal that day. Needless to say she was sorting through the trash later to find my dishes!!! And yes they were all labled and dated!

Specializes in Oncology, Cardiology, ER, L/D. Has 20 years experience.

I once had our fridge nazi throw out my small carton of milk that I had bought that morning for my coffee, but kept the EXPIRED carton in there! Hello?:banghead:

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