How to keep food safe after a power outage
You may want to check your fridge after Sunday’s storm
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Sunday’s storm left some with extended power outages, which might have impacted the safety of food in the fridge. The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District has sent out a list of tips to keep people safe from food-born illnesses.
If your home had a temporary power outage, here are some key tips on how to keep safe:
Monitor Temperatures: Keep an appliance thermometer in both the refrigerator and freezer. Make sure the refrigerator temperature is at 41 F or below, and the freezer at 0 F or below.
4-Hour Window: Your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to four hours during a power outage. After four hours without power, discard refrigerated perishable food. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers must be thrown out.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Never taste or smell food to determine its safety. Food-born pathogens can grow to dangerous levels in food without changing the appearance, smell, and/or texture of food.
Food Keeps Longer in a Freezer: If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to 48 hours in a full freezer and 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
Use a Cooler: Transfer food to a cooler and fill it with ice or frozen gel packs. Make sure there is enough ice to keep food in the cooler at 41 F or below. Add more ice to the cooler as it begins to melt.
When Able, Plan Ahead: Obtain dry ice or block ice if your power is going to be out for a prolonged period. 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot freezer for 2 days. (Caution: Do not touch dry ice with bare hands or place it in direct contact with food).
Cook Before Re-freezing: Thawed foods that have remained at or below 41 F should be used as soon as possible. Do not refreeze thawed foods. Cook foods to proper temperatures to ensure food safety.
Food Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures: Ground Meats 155 F for 15 seconds, Pork 145 F for 15 seconds, Poultry and stuffed meats 165 F for 15 seconds, Eggs 145 F for 15 seconds.
Permitted food facilities with questions regarding food safety should contact the Health District.
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