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Olmsted County Public Health release on food safety during/after power outages

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                            CONTACT:

Date:  July 6, 2016                                                                                      Kari Etrheim:  328-7424

 

 

Food Safety During/After Power Outages

 

Olmsted County, MN – Due to the severe storms that swept through the area last night, many households lost power and continue to be without power today.  Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe during extended power outages will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

 

When the Power Goes Out . . .

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures

o   The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened

o   A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full).

  • Do not eat refrigerated, perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, milk, eggs, and deli Items, after 4 hours without power

Once Power is Restored . . .

You’ll need to determine the safety of your food. Here’s how:

  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

Keep in mind that perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.

 

Resources:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Keeping_Food_Safe_During_an_Emergency.pdf

http://www.fda.gov/food/recallsoutbreaksemergencies/emergencies/ucm077023.htm

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/fs/powerout.html

 

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