Tips to Keep Food Safe During Power Outages

first_imgPerishable food, which includes meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen, could cause illness if consumed. With power outages likely during and after Hurricane Dorian, it is important to know how to keep food safe in your refrigerator and freezer for as long as possible, and when to throw away items. Freeze anything in your refrigerator that can handle freezing, such as milk, fresh meat and poultry and leftovers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends setting your freezer temperature at or below zero degrees and your refrigerator temperature at or below 40 degrees before storm conditions begin. The refrigerator will typically keep food cold for about four hours if it remains unopened. If an outage lasts longer, move perishable items into coolers and surround them with ice, in order to keep the temperature at or below 40 degrees. Fresh mushrooms, fresh uncut vegetables, fruits, herbs and spicesBreads, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillasOpened vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, and hoisin saucesOpened fruit juices, opened canned fruits, dried fruits, raisins, candied fruits, datesPeanut butter, jelly, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, picklesRemember to stay tuned to 850 WFTL for all the information you need before, during and after Hurricane Dorian. After power is restored, check the freezer thermometer. If you do not have a freezer thermometer, check each package to determine its safety. If the food is 40 degrees or below or contains ice crystals, it is safe to cook or refreeze. Food should be safe in a half-full freezer for up to 24 hours, and up to 48 hours, if the freezer is full. Since water expands as it turns into ice, make sure to not fill any container more than three-quarters. Freeze containers of water in order to make ice that will help keep food cool. Buy dry ice or block ice if it is available in stores. Air-tight freezer bags should work as well, although you should make sure to store them on the bottom of the freezer, or in a shallow box or baking pan. Avoid putting bags of water on wire-rack shelves, as they could be difficult to remove after freezing.If you have an ice maker, set it to make as much ice as possible. Also, freeze gel packs. Have coolers handy to store what you plan to eat or drink during an outage. Before the storm: Arrange food items close together in the freezer so they stay cold longer.During a power outage: Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible in order to keep the temperature cold. Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood, or soy meat substitutes. Lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, or dried beefSoft cheeses such as cottage, cream, bleu, Roquefort, Brie, shredded cheeses, Monterey Jack, mozzerella, and ricottaFresh eggs or foods cooked with egg. Dairy products, including milk, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, soy milk, heavy cream, yogurt and eggnogOpened baby formula, custard, puddings, quicheSliced fruits, cooked vegetables, tofu, pre-washed greensCasseroles, soups, stews, potato salad, cheesecake, custard pie, refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie doughCooked pasta, fresh pasta, cooked rice, cooked potatoesFish sauces (oyster sauce), creamy-based dressingsOpen mayonnaise, tartar sauce, and horseradish if above 50 degrees for more than eight hours However, not all refrigerated foods need to be thrown away. Foods you can keep include: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ site, items that you should throw away if they are exposed to temperatures greater than 40 degrees for more than two hours, include:last_img