July 15, 2024

USDA Food Safety Tips for Hawaiians in the Path of Tropical Storms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has compiled some food safety recommendations for those in Hawaii experiencing severe weather related to Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio. The storms are expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands on Thursday into Friday.

Severe StormsHere’s what the agency recommends. If you don’t have an appliance thermometer for your fridge and freezer go buy them. Locate your coolers, clean them out. If you don’t have one and have perishable food you want to save, buy one. Buy some ice and store it in the cooler. Buy a few days worth supply of fresh water and food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked. Group meat and poultry  one side of the freezer preferably on a tray to prevent cross contamination from thawing thawing juices.

If the power goes out, food in a fridge with the doors closed will stay at a safe temperature for four hours. At the four-hour mark, check the reading on your appliance thermometer, if it is below 40°F  the food can stay in the fridge. 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. Check the temperature at 30 minute intervals and transfer food from the fridge to coolers when the temperature has risen above 40°F.

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