October 25, 2021

Tips for Handling Food After Power Outage

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Department of Health has issued tips for safe food handling after the recent power outages that affected more than 500,000 households over the weekend. Some consumers have had no power for four days; many will not get their power back until June 26, 2013.

Severe StormsFood that loses refrigeration for more than four hours can be a risk for foodborne illness.  While the power is out, keep the refrigerator door closed to keep cold air inside the appliance. Discard any perishable food that has been at temperatures above 40 degrees F for more than two hours. A full freezer can keep food cold and safe for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full). Dry or block ice can be used to keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-foot freezer cold for two days.

For food safety, it’s important to keep a thermometer in your fridge and freezer to check the temperature. But if you don’t have one, check each package of food before eating. If a food that was in the freezer still has ice crystals, it’s safe to refreeze or cook. The temperature of the food is another safety indicator; check it with a food thermometer. If it’s above 40 degrees F, throw it out. You can’t rely on appearance or odor to tell if a food is safe to eat. Never taste a food to check if it’s safe to eat.


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