For Release: _____, 2007
_____ County Health Department
Knowing What To Keep is Key to Food Safety
The loss of power for many persons in _____ County has prompted the _____ County Health Department to offer these food safety suggestions if your power has been out for more than two hours.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
- Do not store food outside, no matter how cold the temperature. The sun’s rays can quickly warm the food above acceptable temperatures, the food may be exposed to outside contamination, and it’s difficult to maintain consistent temperatures.
- Rather than putting the food outside, consider taking advantage of the cold temperatures by making ice. Fill buckets, empty milk cartons or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Then put the homemade ice in your refrigerator, freezer, or coolers.
- If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer 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 the safety.
- Remember 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.
- Refrigerated food should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that has been above 40 °F for 2 hours.
- Be sure to discard any items in either the freezer or the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
- The attached recommendations provide basic guidelines on what to keep and what should be discarded.
For more information on food safety following a power outage, visit the following Web sites: