If your beverage refrigerator isn’t keeping that drink as cold as your palate might prefer, then ask yourself, “Is the fridge that stores my animal health products keeping its cool?”

With the continuing heat wave affecting most of the country, now is a good time to double-check before it is too late. Animal health products can lose their effectiveness if they aren’t stored properly.

The ideal location for a storage unit is a clean, dry, frost-free area such as a farm office or utility room. The storage unit should protect products from changes in temperature, sunlight, dust, moisture, animals and insects.

Storing animal health products at the correct temperature is one key aspect of quality assurance programs.

Many products should be refrigerated at 35 to 45 F, with some exceptions based on the unique nature of each product.

Products should be protected from temperature extremes and fluctuations because these may alter the products’ chemical structure and reduce potency, shelf life and safety. For example, vaccines containing modified live organisms will have markedly reduced effectiveness if stored at room temperature.

Most antibiotic preparations are heat-sensitive. Store these products in a refrigerator at a temperature between 36 and 46 F to maintain potency.

Many other products require storage in a cool (below 60 F) but non-refrigerated location. Product labels will indicate an acceptable storage temperature.

Product decomposition may result from exposure to light. Manufacturers package light-sensitive products such as the injectable tetracyclines in light-resistant containers such as colored glass bottles.