Best tips for food safety during a power outage

Wind knocks out power to more than 800K in Metro Detroit this week

By Ken Haddad , Hank Winchester - Reporter

DETROIT - If your power is out, the food in your fridge is probably not going to last too long.

Here's some information on food safety from the American Red Cross:

Food Safety

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.

Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.

  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times

Throw Out Unsafe Food

  • Throw away any food (particularly meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.

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