Food Safety After a Power Outage
Ever wonder about the food in your refrigerator after the storm and the power goes out? What should you keep and what should you throw out?
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“When the lights blink back on, don’t just assume everything is OK. A few checks are in order first, especially if the power has been out for more than four hours. What’s not in order? Taste testing. You should never taste food to determine if it’s safe. Instead, follow these tips.
- Meat, poultry and seafood: Discard raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish or seafood that may have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more. Same goes for thawing meat or poultry, along with tuna, shrimp, chicken or egg salad.
- Dairy: Toss milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt and soy milk that may have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more. Butter and margarine are likely safe to keep.
- Cheese: Discard soft cheeses, such as bleu, Brie, cottage and others, if they may have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more. Hard cheeses and processed cheeses should be safe.
- Sauces and condiments: Mayonnaise, tartar sauce and horseradish should go in the trash if they may have been above 50 degrees for more than eight hours. Toss creamy dressings such as ranch, but vinegar-based dressings may be safe to keep. Items such as peanut butter, jelly, relish, ketchup, barbecue sauce and pickles are typically safe.
- Frozen food: Evaluate frozen (or now partially frozen) items individually. If the food still contains ice crystals, or is has stayed at or below 40 degrees, it should be safe to refreeze.”