What to do with your food following a power outage

What to do with your food following a power outage

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Storms across the area on Monday night have knocked out power to three Texoma towns.

Byers, Dean, and Petrolia could be without power for several days.

According to the Texas-New Mexico Power Company, many poles are down in hard-to-reach areas.

During power outages, the food in your home can become unsafe so here are some tips to take to make sure food is safe to eat once power is restored.

Some guidelines to follow include:

·  During or after a snowstorm, do not place perishable food outdoors or in the snow. Outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to dirty conditions and animals.

·  Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

·  A refrigerator will keep food safe for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full, closed freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full).

·  Throw away refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.

·  Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below when checked with a food thermometer.

·  NEVER taste a food to determine its safety.

·  Use dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time.

· If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe to refreeze.

· If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.

· Finally, when in doubt, throw it out!

If you have any questions about food safety you can give the Wichita County Health District's Environmental Division a call at (940) 761-7822 or head to www.health.wichitafallstx.gov.

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