Health chief warns against switching off fridges amid energy crisis

Switching off fridges to save money on energy bills has a high risk of causing food poisoning, Dr Jenny Harries has said

Big Zero Report 2022

People should not turn off fridges to save on energy bills as this move poses a health risk, a senior health official has warned.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and asked about the health impact of rising energy bills, Dame Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency said: “There are direct impacts on health.

“I think one of the important things here is people recognise the importance of spending what will likely be, for many people, very limited resource on heating, because that is an essential part of their health.

“We are very aware of this, and I think I have heard anecdotally, for example, people turning off fridges – clearly, that creates the risk of infection in food.

“So, it is really important people keep their fridges on and keep their heating on if they can afford it, particularly at the extremes ages of life.”

The warning comes as analysts estimate that people will have to spend almost two months’ wages next year to pay just energy bills.

Earlier this year, fire chiefs raised concerns over “risky practices”, including open fires as people try to reduce their energy bills.

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