|Script: Surviving a Power
Outage: Don’t Be in the Dark When it Comes to Food Safety
Welcome to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service “Food
Safety At Home” podcast series, featuring topics for the safe
handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry and processed
egg products. So, sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Audio Sound Effect: Rain and thunderstorm in the background
“Sounds like the storm’s getting bad. I sure hope I don't lose
Sound Effect: Loud Thunder
“Uh oh, there it goes. The power's out! Where's that
Sound Effect: Glass breaking
“Oops, that's not it!”
Sound familiar? When the power goes out you can lose more than
just a broken object.
Welcome to Food Safety at Home. I'm Tina Hanes, Technical
Information Specialist for the Meat and Poultry Hotline.
Sound effect: rumble of thunder in background
Thunderstorms can knock out power for several hours or even
days. Knowing how to keep food safe can help minimize the
potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Joining me today is Kathy Bernard also a Technical Information
Specialist for the Meat and Poultry Hotline. We are going to
give you tips on how you can Be Food Safe when the power goes
First, It's important to be prepared. Keep an appliance
thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. This
way you won't have to guess how cold the unit is when the power
comes back on. It’ll give you the exact temperature. Make sure
the freezer is zero degrees Fahrenheit or below and the
refrigerator should be forty degrees Fahrenheit or below.
The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours
if it's left unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature
for about forty-eight hours. If it's half-full then it's about
twenty-four hours as long as the door stays closed. It’s
important to remember that keeping the doors closed helps
maintain the cold temperature.
If a major storm is anticipated, like a hurricane, you may
be without power for several days. Coolers are a great way to
help keep food cold especially if the power will be out for more
than four hours. Buy or make ice cubes ahead of time and store
them in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or cooler,
frozen gel packs work great too. Buy block ice or dry ice to
keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible. Fifty
pounds of dry ice should hold an eighteen-cubic-foot full
freezer for two days.
When the power returns, never taste a food to determine if it's
safe. Check the temperature of the freezer. If the temperature
is at forty degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe.
If you don't have a thermometer in the freezer, then check each
food package to determine its safety. If the food still has ice
crystals, it’s safe and can be refrozen.
Remember, the refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about
four hours if it's left unopened. Discard any refrigerated
perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk,
eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power.
Also discard cut-up fruits and vegetables if they’ve stayed
above 40 F for more than two hours.
Finally, When in doubt, throw it out!
Audio scene: Back to consumer at home in the dark
“I know that flashlight is around somewhere.
Sound Effect: Glass breaking again
You can learn more about being prepared for a power outage by
visiting the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit us
online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask
Karen” at askkaren.gov. You can also “Chat live” between 10:00
am and 4:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
You can talk to a food safety expert by calling the toll-free
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s
In addition, you can visit the government’s food safety Web site
That’s it for this week. I’m Tina Hanes and I'd like to thank
you for joining me for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.”
And remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Thanks for listening
to this Food Safety At Home podcast.Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
June 16, 2010