WASHINGTON, December 6, 2013—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those affected by the weather system moving across the Rockies to the Ohio Valley. Power outages that result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, but there are steps that can minimize food waste and the risk of foodborne illness.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe.
FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety. To get tweets about weather-related food safety issues and food recalls concerning the affected regions, follow @AR_FSISAlert, @IL_FSISAlert, @IN_FSISAlert, @KY_FSISAlert, @OH_FSISAlert, @OK_FSISAlert, @MO_FSISAlert, @TN_FSISAlert and @TX_FSISAlert.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
Videos detailing food safety information are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language on FSIS’ YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/USDAFoodSafety. An FSIS Public Service Announcement (PSA) illustrating practical food safety recommendations for handling and consuming foods stored in refrigerators and freezers during and after a power outage is available in 30- and 60-second versions at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/videos-psas/food-safety-public-service-announcements. News organizations and power companies can obtain hard copy (Beta and DVD) versions of the PSA by contacting FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff at (301) 344-4757.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or m.AskKaren.gov on a smartphone. Mobile Ask Karen can also be downloaded from the Apple and Android app stores. Consumers can e-mail, chat with a live representative, or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline directly from the app. To use these features from Mobile Ask Karen, simply choose “Contact Us” from the menu. The live chat option and the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), are available in English and Spanish on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.