Food Safety Tips During Power Outages

Beware When the Power Goes Out – Food Safety Tips

Power outages and food safety tips: Toss it or keep it? It seems like the power always goes out in Choctaw when it is either way too hot or way too cold – talk about inconvenient. What else is also inconvenient? Not knowing whether your food is safe to eat during and after an outage.

When deciding on what to keep, err on the side of caution. Avoid taste testing when determining if food has spoiled. Harmful bacteria can be tasteless and odorless. 

How then do you decide on what food gets tossed? Use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety tips:

Timeline to Toss – 5 Food Safety Tips

  1. Two hours or more with food storage at or over 40° Fahrenheit 
    Throw away meat, poultry, and seafood.
  2. Four hours or more with food storage at or over 40° Fahrenheit 
    Discard milk, sour cream, yogurt, and soft cheeses. 
    Butter and margarine, as well as hard and processed cheeses, should be OK. 
  3. Five hours or more with food storage at or over 50° Fahrenheit 
    Toss mayo, tartar sauce, horseradish, and creamy dressings. 
    Vinegar-based dressings, along with ketchup, barbecue sauce, peanut butter, etc., are likely fine. 
  4. Refreeze food that still contains ice crystals or is still below 40 degrees
  5. Dispose of all food that has come in contact with floodwaters or firefighting chemicals.
    Even if it looks unharmed, it could still be unsafe.

How to Reduce Waste

We know it is frustrating to have to throw out food. Try this simple trick when working on preserving food a bit longer. When the power goes out, keep the fridge and freezer doors shut. The longer you keep them closed, the longer food stays cold and safe.

As for the cost of all that spoiled food? Your homeowners’ policy may help, but check in with us here at Omega first. If the value of the damages you claim is less than your deductible, you will not have any coverage. If you have both home damage and spoiled food, filing a claim is the way to go.

Prepare Pantries for Future Choctaw Power Outages – 3 Food Safety Tips

  1. Put appliance thermometers in your fridge and freezer. This helps reduce some guesswork. 
  2. Maintain nonperishable food supplies where they are safe and dry, above flood lines. Do not forget the can opener! You will have something to eat no matter what. 
  3. Be sure to replace items as they expire or get used.

Always Be Safe and Be Well!


AP-5405/E 05/16