A municipal power outage is more than just inconvenient; it can be a health hazard. Food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. A power outage takes the refrigerator’s motor out of use, which means that all the food you thought was safe suddenly isn’t.
Due to a foodborne infection, 128,000 people have been hospitalized every year. Food safety precautions are important because food poisoning can make you ill, and it can even lead to death in the most serious cases.
So, what do you do? First, do not eat it.
You should also toss it out, even if it is not visibly spoiled. In this article, we’ve outlined a power outage refrigerator food safety guide for you.
Tips for Preparing for a Power Outage
Food safety during and after a power outage is a major concern, and a whole house generator can help in these situations. When the power goes out, refrigerators and freezers can destabilize the food temperatures, which can make the food unsafe to consume. Following these tips will help ensure food safety during and after a power outage.
Keep Refrigerator and Freezer Closed
Keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible will keep foods safe for up to four hours. To maximize the cooling power, take out any extra items that may be cluttering up your fridge or freezer.
Use a Thermometer
During a power outage, refrigerated food should stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to remain safe. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of food both before and after the power is restored.
If food has been stored too long without a proper temperature, throw it away! It is much safer to throw away food that may have gone bad than to risk foodborne illnesses caused by consuming bad food.
Guidelines for Assessing Food Safety After Power is Restored
It can be difficult to determine what is safe to eat and what needs to be thrown away after a power outage. There are guidelines to help assess food safety when power is restored.
Perishable foods like meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and pre-cooked leftovers should not be eaten if their temperature is not maintained at 40°F or below throughout the power outage. Thawing and refreezing foods can cause bacteria to multiply. Foods that have come into contact with floodwaters may be contaminated and should be discarded.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can quickly spoil. If temperatures have been higher than forty degrees during the power outage, it’s best to throw them away for your health and safety. If a power outage lasts for more than two hours, it is best to avoid eating any fruits and vegetables that have already been cut.
During a power outage, eggs should not be stored in a refrigerator for longer than four hours. Once the power outage has been resolved, any eggs that have been stored for longer than four hours in a powerless fridge should be thrown away. After the power outage, it is important to check all eggs for cracks, odors, and other signs of spoilage.
Knowing Power Outage Refrigerator Food Safety is Essential
Knowing power outage refrigerator food safety is crucial to avoid poisoning. Make sure to save the items that can be safely stored and prepare them as soon as possible.
Do not put yourself at risk by tasting food, as items may be spoiled. Practice safe food handling during a power outage to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy.
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