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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 08/12/2010

Food safety tips for power outages

By Washington Post editors

Between "Snowmageddon" and "Stormageddon" residents in the D.C.-region are becoming experts in dealing with power outages. Still, some outage-related information bears repeating.

And so we offer these tips on keeping food safe during outages from Montgomery County's Health Officer Dr. Ulder J. Tillman . After all, the last thing you want to do during a power outage is get sick.

* According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at 40° F and frozen food at or below 0° F, which may be difficult with a prolonged power outage. The USDA also offers this additional weather-related food safety tips.

* Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four 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.

* Obtain dry ice or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if there is a prolonged power outage. Residents should check with local retailers for ice supplies.

* Digital, dial or instant-read thermometers and appliance thermometers will help determine if the food is at safe temperatures. The refrigerator temperature should be at 40°F or below; the freezer, 0°or lower.

* To be sure a particular food is cold enough; take its temperature with a food thermometer.

* Never taste food to determine its safety!

* Food may be safely refrozen if the food still contains ice crystals.

By Washington Post editors  | August 12, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weather  
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