– Condensed by Steve Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist
Tom R. Troxel, Professor and Associate Department Head Animal Science Arkansas conducted a study on storing store animal health products at the proper temperature. Refrigeration is required for most animal health products (antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, biologicals, vaccinations, etc.). Biological products should be kept under refrigeration between 35 to 45 degrees F unless otherwise advised. Storing animal health products at < 35 degrees F can be more damaging than storing animal health products at > 45 degrees F because the antigen can separate from the adjuvant.
Actually, producers are very good about storing animal health products in a refrigerator. These refrigerators are often older models that perhaps were replaced in the home kitchen.
In order to determine if animal health products were being stored at the proper temperature, a Watchdog data logger was used to monitor and record the refrigerator temperature every 10 minutes for 48 hours. Results from this demonstration clearly showed temperature of refrigerators storing animal health products should be monitored very carefully. In addition, following a simple refrigerator general maintenance plan can help ensure the refrigerator is working properly.
Refrigerator Demonstration Results: A total of 239 refrigerators of producers (75%), retail stores (18%) and veterinarian clinics (7%) were involved in the study.
Of the 239 refrigerators tested, only 26% recorded temperatures within 35 degrees to 45 degrees F greater than 95% of the time. A total of 24% had recommend temperatures only 5% of the time. At the end of the study, 74% of the refrigerators tested are unacceptable for storing animal health products.
General Refrigerator Maintenance: It is important to keep the refrigerator coils clean. Dusty coils have to work harder to cool down the interior and contents of the refrigerator.
The drip pan, located beneath the refrigerator, should also be cleaned. In automatic defrost models, the water from the defrost process flows out a drain in the floor of the refrigerator and into a pan where it sits until evaporating. You can clear out the tube that carries particles to the pan by removing the stopper at the opening. Stick a pipe cleaner or similar device into the opening to push any particles through to the pan. Flush with soapy water and then empty and clean the pan.
The gaskets are the seals that keep cold air in and the outside air out of the refrigerator, and the gaskets should last the life of the refrigerator if properly cared for. Gaskets should be washed with soapy water, and the “paper test” can be used to test the condition of the gasket. You should not be able to slide a piece of paper between the rubber seal and the wall of the refrigerator.
Regularly defrost manual defrost freezers, never allowing frost to build up more than 0.25 inch.
You may want to at least record temperatures in your refrigerator over a time span.
Implications: This demonstration assisted producers in determining if they are storing animal health products according to labeled instructions. When animal health products are stored incorrectly, the effectiveness of animal health products may become compromised. All animal health products that are past their expiration date or opened should be disposed of properly.
You can access the factsheet that this article is derived from at: http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-3124.pdf