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Food safety info

By Staff | Dec 18, 2007

With the recent ice storm to the south, I thought it might be good to share some food safety information with you.

Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer (If you do not have, thermometers, perhaps there is a Christmas gift idea, hint, hint).

Make sure the freezer is operating at or below 0 degrees and the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees. Knowing the temperature inside the appliance will help determine the safety of the food.

If the forecast calls for an ice storm, you may want to freeze containers of water to use in the refrigerator or in coolers to help keep food cold once the power is off. Once the power is off, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours, if unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.

After the power comes on, immediately look at the appliance thermometers.

Never taste food to determine its safety! You will have to evaluate each item separately. If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when the power comes back on.

If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer reads 40F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine the safety.

Remember you can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40F or below, it is safe to refreeze.

Refrigerated food should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40F for two hours.