Food Safety and Emergency Preparation
Some helpful tips from your Food Service Director:
- Keep refrigerator doors closed as much as possible during a power outage (see the article below for more information).
- Have an extra bag of ice from that last summertime BBQ? When power is lost, put the bag of ice in the refrigerator as an added cold source. You can make ice from trays and fill a zip lock bag. This will keep your food colder for longer.
- Your refrigeration system will keep your food approximately two degrees warmer than than the cold air temperature reading. If your refrigerator temperature reaches 43 degrees, your food will be unsafe if this continues for over four hours. At 41 degrees bacteria present in your food multiplies at an accelerated rate increasing your family's risk of illness. Better to be safe! Keep an eye on your refrigeration system especially if the temperature gauge is outside of the unit.
- If fish smells like the sea, throw it away! There are many toxic illnesses that result from fish that is temperature abused. If meat loses its red color, be cautious. If you have any questions about food safety, please email email@example.com for more information.
- The Hillsboro town shelter is located in the high school. If you are in need of emergency services, please visit us there. As a reminder, the governor has urged us to stay in our homes to ensure our safety from falling trees and flying debris. Please only journey outside as a last resort.
Stay safe Hillsboro-Deering!
The following is an article on keeping food safe during an emergency from our friends at the USDA.
Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. This fact sheet will help you make the right decisions for keeping your family safe during an emergency.
ABCD’s of Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency
Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 °F and frozen food at or below 0 °F. This may be difficult when the power is out.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Be prepared for an emergency...
... by having items on hand that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on the outdoor grill. Shelf-stable food, boxed or canned milk, water, and canned goods should be part of a planned emergency food supply. Make sure you have ready-to-use baby formula for infants and pet food. Remember to use these items and replace them from time to time. Be sure to keep a hand-held can opener for an emergency.
Consider what you can do ahead of time to store your food safely in an emergency. If you live in a location that could be affected by a flood, plan your food storage on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water. Coolers are a great help for keeping food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours—have a couple on hand along with frozen gel packs. When your freezer is not full, keep items close together—this helps the food stay cold longer.
Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at safe temperatures. Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. When the power is out, an appliance thermometer will always indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 °F or below; the freezer, 0 °F or lower. If you’re not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
For frequently asked questions please visit the USDA website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/keeping_food_Safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp.