Keeping Food Safe After a Power Outage
Lima – The power outages caused by Friday's storm create health concerns, especially when it comes to food safety. "If people are still without power at this point, all perishable food in people's refrigerators should be considered unsafe to eat and should be discarded," says Kathy Luhn, Allen County Health Commissioner.
The Allen County Health Department offers the following reminders and tips.
When the power is out
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
When the power is restored
Determine the safety of your food.
•Refrigerator - If power has been out for more than 4 hours, all perishable foods in the refrigerator should be discarded.
• Freezer - If power has been out for more than 48 hours, do not eat the foods in your freezer. If it was less than 48 hours, and a thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 41º F or below, the food is safe and may be saved. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. In general, if the food still contains ice crystals it is safe to refreeze or cook. You can't rely on appearance or odor.
Discard all perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish eggs, or leftovers. (See chart below.) If in doubt about the safety of food in your refrigerator or freezer, use boxed or canned foods, milk, and water. When in doubt, throw it out. More information is available athttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/keeping_food_Safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp
DISCARD the following foods if kept over 2 hours at or above 42º F:
• Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and egg substitutes – raw or cooked
• Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheese
• Casseroles, stews or soups
• Lunch meats and hot dogs
• Creamy-based salad dressings
• Custard, chiffon or cheese pies
• Cream-filled pastries
• Refrigerator and cookie doughs
• Discard opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce and horseradish if above 50º F for over 8 hours.
SAVE the following foods if kept at room temperature for a few days. Still, discard anything that turns moldy or has an unusual odor.
• Butter or margarine
• Hard and processed cheese
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Dried fruits and coconut
• Opened jars of vinegar-based salad dressings, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup, olives and peanut butter
• Fruit juices
• Fresh herbs and spices
• Fruit pies, bread, rolls and muffins
• Cakes except cream-cheese, frosted, or cream-filled
• Flour and nuts