Power Outage Food Safety
On the heels of the last weekend’s storms and wide power outages in and around #KansasCity, here are some food safety tips from Duane Daugherty (MrDoggity, the Safety guy)
Most modern refrigerators will hold temp in a power outage for about four to six hours if the door isn’t opened. Nearly all refrigerated foods will withstand a few hours out of range. However, if your power is out more than six to eight hours, even with a high efficiency rating, and nobody opening the door, you’ll need to toss some stuff – but NOT everything!
Here’s a handy guide:
Foods to Pitch:
Soups, Stews, Casseroles, any Pre-cooked leftovers
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood: Cooked, uncooked, or any other foods like casseroles that contain these things
Cheese: cream cheese, shredded soft cheese or anything “low-fat”
Dairy: Milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, canned whipped cream
Soy and Nut Milks or products made from these oils (tofu, hummus)
Eggs: Cooked, uncooked, and any foods containing eggs
Fruit: Cut fruit
Condiments: Fish sauce, oyster sauce, creamy dressings, spaghetti sauce, salsa, mayonnaise (if 8 hours or more)
Breads: Refrigerator biscuits, any unbaked canned dough, cookie dough
Pasta: Cooked pasta, salads
Sweets: Cheesecake, cream or custard pies, cream-filled pastries and pies
Vegetables: Pre-washed greens, cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, garlic in oil, anything made with cooked beans.
Foods to Keep:
Cheese: Hard, processed, grated hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano, wrapped block cheeses (may require trimming), processed cheeses like “American singles” or “Velveeta”
Dairy: Butter and margarine
Fruit: Fruit juice, canned fruit, fresh whole (uncut) fruits, dried fruits
Condiments: Peanut butter, jams, jellies, ketchup, olives, pickles, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, relish, vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hoisin sauce
Breads: Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas, bagels, waffles, pancakes
Sweets: Fruit pies
Herbs: dried or unwilted
Freezers will usually keep food safely frozen for 24 to 48 hours. The more food you have in the freezer, the longer it will keep. Check your ice tray and your ground meats. If your ice tray has loose ice to the bottom and your ground meat is solid, you’re fine. Any meats that have some “give” to them in the freezer should be cooked within a few days, and can be refrozen once cooked. NEVER refreeze raw meats that have begun to thaw.
RULE OF THUMB: IF YOU’RE IN DOUBT – PITCH IT OUT!
I am an environmentalist, too, and I don’t believe in wasting food. But nothing is worth making yourself or your family sick.