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Question
Posted by: K | 2005/01/13

Maggots in my fridge and freezer-what can I do?

DearEnviroHealth expert, I'm hoping that you can point me in the right direction for this one. I came back from a 3 week holiday to find that my power had gone off and as a result my fridge was teaming with maggots! i've scrubbed it down as best as possible and have for now removed it from my home. With it being an old fridge with some cracks especially in the seal of the fridge I'm concerned about using the fridge again. Two people who've had a similar experience have had to buy new fridges as they coudlnt get rid of the smell nor the eggs. Please could you advise me on whether there is a safe way of ensuring that all the eggs are removed or alternately whether it would be preferable to buy a new fridge. I certainly don't want to put my health at risk.
Thank you for your time!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEnviroHealth expert

Not the greatest homecoming... but I don't think you necessarily need to buy a new fridge. As long your fridge works, i.e. it maintains temperatures low enough to keep your food from spoiling, then you should be able to keep using it. Low temperatures are a good way to deter (and kill) maggots, so you shouldn’t get them in a functional fridge.

It sounds like you’ve cleaned your fridge really well, and I wouldn’t suggest using chemical products in it unless you really have to. If you’re worried, though, you could try swabbing down the inside with boiling water before you start using it again.

Be diligent about throwing out any food (not just in the fridge) that’s past its shelf or refrigeration date – this is important for other health reasons too. Organic rubbish should be promptly disposed of, and kept in sealed bags, preferably in a covered container. It’s also important to keep the fly population down in your home, because of course they lay the eggs that produce the maggots. Keeping surfaces clean and keeping food stored in closed containers will help prevent this.

Even if you do actually eat a maggot or egg, it’s unlikely to do you any harm. The maggot is almost certain to be destroyed when you chew it, or by the gastric acid in your stomach. If people eat food containing maggots, the risk is more that the bacteria in the rotting food can make them sick.

One final point: are you sure these are in fact maggots? They could be the larvae of another insect species, which may require different methods to get rid of. If you aren’t sure, and they recur, put one in a bottle and show it to an expert – at a natural history museum, zoology department, health department, or pest control company.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015/07/04

So how do u get rid of the smell? And stop them from coming back? Cause it seems like since my lights got turned off when I left the state they was in my refrigerator when I got back! I wiped it down with bleach several times the next morning the way back! So can they get into something in my refrigerator to stop it from working?

Reply to Anonymous | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/02/17

They can clog up the coils

Posted by: k | 2005/01/18

Thanks a lot for your advice! Your final point about whether they're really maggots is a good point - I was shocked to find my fridge in such a state because I only had very few items in the freezer and nothing at all in the fridge, aslo no rubbish lying around and seemingly no problem with flies. The fridge is still not smelling good so may actually be something else going on. Good to know that if they were maggots that swallowing one or two would be an awful thought, but not harmful! Thanks again!

Reply to k

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