It’s bad enough being stuck in a snow storm, tornado or cyclone but to have a power outage along with that is like putting salt on your wounds. People are usually well prepared to face a storm with extra food, water, flashlights, candles but they often tend to forget about the food kept in the fridge and freezer.
While non-perishable foods will keep well when left outside, the perishable foods like milk, cheese, poultry, meat and left overs will become a breeding ground for pathogens if it is kept above 4C (40F) for more than 2 hours. To prevent food borne diseases follow these simple tips:
1) When you get to know about the storm or blizzard make sure to set your fridge at it’s coldest setting.
2) Move all the perishables like milk, and leftovers to the back of the fridge or into the freezer.
3)Keep coolers, ice packs and extra ice blocks ready .
4)During the power outage stack the food closer to each other both in the fridge and the freezer. Closely packed food tend to keep cold longer.
5)Keep meat,poultry on trays or ziplock pouches in the freezer to avoid the drippings from contaminating other foods in case it does thaw out.
6)Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed to keep the cold trapped inside.
7)If the power outage is for more than 4 hours, then put the ice-blocks into the coolers and move the food into that.
Keep in mind that without power the fridge will keep cold for just 4 hours while the freezer (if it is full) will most likely keep for about 48 hours.
Discard any food that has been stored above 40F (or 4C) for more than two hours. If the food smells bad, has changed in colour, texture or if you simply are in doubt-then throw it away. Better to be safe than sorry.