Keeping food safe when the power goes out
When people lost power during last winter's Snowmageddon (which, according to this, was forecast last JULY) they could salvage some of the food in their fridges and freezers by sticking it in a trash bag and burying it in a snowbank.
Here's a summary:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. Opening the door lets cold air out and hot air in. (Try to coordinate trips to the fridge with other family members; getting everyone's food out at once is better than opening the door a bunch of times.)
- If the power's out for two hours or less (if only!), the food in both fridge and freezer should be safe to eat.
- If the power's out for more than two hours, try to move meat, fish, poultry, eggs and other perishable items to an insulated, ice-packed cooler.
- If your freezer is tightly packed, food should stay safe for 48 hours. If it's only half full, the food's safe for 24 hours.
- Check every item with a food thermometer just before eating or cooking with it. If it's over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it's not safe. You can't rely on taste, smell or appearance when judging food safety.
- Once the power's back on (hallelujah!), freezer food can be refrozen if it still has ice crystals in it AND if its temperature is 40 degrees or less.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
July 26, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , Food Safety and Recalls
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