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Managing food safety during a power outage

March 3, 2014

Losing power within your home is never a convenient turn of events. However, some aspects of a power outage can be more than simply irritating. When it comes to keeping your food supply safe for consumption, it is essential that you know how to quickly and effectively handle the situation.

If you lose power, which food items can be saved, and which should be thrown out? How do you ensure that your family’s food is safe?

Be prepared

The best thing that you can do to deal with unwelcome situations, such as power outages, is prepare for the worst. Make sure that your refrigerator is always set to adequately low temperatures so that food stays fresh for longer in the event of a power outage. Also, ensure that you’ve got a good supply of non-perishable food in your pantry, so that you and your family have plenty to eat. Bread and grains are fantastic options, and for alternative sources of protein, try peanut butter and canned tuna.

What to do next

When the power goes out, do everything you can to preserve the food that you have. Keep the doors of your fridge and freezer shut whenever possible, as this will help to keep the cold temperatures in place for longer.

Whether your food is safe to eat after the power outage is over will depend on for how long you lost power. If you only lost power for four hours or less, most of your refrigerated food should be fine to consume. A full freezer can retain its temperature enough to keep food preserved for as long as two days, whereas a freezer that is half full can only accomplish this for approximately 24 hours.

Remember to check the temperature in your refrigerator once the power goes back on, and if you’re not sure about any particular item, throw it away. It’s better to lose out on a couple of items than risk becoming sick.