FEATURE SCRIPT - Food Safety Advise
for Power Loss
INTRO: When natural disasters strike your
home, will the food in your kitchen be safe? US Dept of
Agriculture experts have the answers. USDA’s Pat O’Leary
Pat O’Leary (VOICE OVER): Add
to the list of issues caused by hurricane winds and
flood waters: food safety experts with the U.S.
Department of Agriculture say if you’ve lost power for
days, the food in your refrigerator is probably not safe
and should be thrown away. For shorter outages follow
Kathy Bernard: When the power goes out
the most important thing you can do is to keep the doors
of the refrigerator and the freezer closed. You want to
keep the cold air in there as long as possible to keep
the food safe. The refrigerator will probably stay safe
for only about four hours after losing power if you keep
the door closed. A fully stocked freezer should stay
safe for about two days if you don’t open the door. If
it’s half full then it’s safe for about a day. If it
looks like the power is going to be out for an extended
period of time, hopefully you can buy some blocks of ice
and put them in the refrigerator and put some dry ice in
the freezer to extend that time period. You can also
take the items and put them into a cooler with ice or
frozen gel packs.
Pat O’Leary (VOICE OVER): Keep
refrigerated foods at forty degrees Fahrenheit or below
and frozen foods at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.
and remember, if your home has survived a flood, the
food in your refrigerator may not have.
Kathy Bernard: Flood waters can contain
lots of harmful bacteria. Discard any food that is not
in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it
has come in contact with flood water.
Pat O’Leary (VOICE OVER):
Metal pans and utensils, ceramic dishes and undamaged
metal food containers that have come in contact with
flood water can be cleaned and sanitized.
Kathy Bernard: But any plastic cookware
and especially things like baby bottles and pacifiers
should always be discarded.
Pat O’Leary (VOICE OVER): For
information on how to know what foods to keep or discard
and how to clean and sanitize items, read about
emergency preparedness on USDA’s Food Safety and
Inspection Service web site. The experts say these
precautions can help prevent foodborne illness caused by
Kathy Bernard: If you’re not sure if a
food is safe, don’t take a chance. When in doubt, just
throw it out.
Pat O’Leary (VOICE OVER):
Learn more on the web at
askkaren.gov. Or call
the USDA’s Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-mphotline.
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I’m Pat O’leary.