EATING HEALTHY
We are What we Eat

BEFORE YOU LOSE POWER:

  • Have appliance thermometers in both refrigerator and freezer.  Safe temperatures:   Refrigerator:  40°F or lower; Freezer: 0°F or lower.

  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or containers small enough to fit around food in refrigerator/freezer to help keep food cold. Water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill containers.

  • Freeze refrigerated items (leftovers, milk, fresh meat, poultry) that you may not need immediately— helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.

  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.

  • Group foods together in freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.

  • Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling. 

AFTER YOU LOSE POWER:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if door is kept closed. Full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.

  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. 

AFTER THE FLOOD:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.

  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.

  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.

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DO THIS AFTER WEATHER EMERGENCY:

  • Check temperature inside refrigerator and freezer. Discard perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

  • Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.

  • Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.

  • Never taste food to decide if it’s safe.

  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Source:  USDA

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