Monday, October 29, 2012

Keep Your Food Safe during Hurricane Sandy!

Hurricane Sandy is down on the East coast of the United States. If you live in this region of the country as I do, it is important that you take precautions to ensure your food stays safe during the storm.

I look out of the window of my home and see trees swaying in the wind. These swaying trees could lead to a dangerous situation. The loss of power from high winds could jeopardize the safety of your food. Follow these steps and make smart decisions to keep your food safe and minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of food-borne illness during and after this historic storm.

Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in your refrigerator and freeze. An appliance theremomerter will indicate the temperature in the refrigerater and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
  • Make sure the freezer is at 0 F or below and the refrigerator is at 40 F or below.
  • Freezer containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, regrigerator, or coolers after the power goes out.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately-this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Locate sources of dry ice and block ice now.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubs and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gell packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Group food together in the freezer- this helps the food stay safe longer.
Source:  A Consumer's Guide to Food Safety; Severe Storms and Hurricanes, USDA.

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