Congressional and Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, August 6, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for the state of Hawaii due to the forecast for severe weather conditions related to Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio.
The National Weather Service announced that Tropical Storms Iselle and Julio are developing off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. Iselle is expected to continue towards the west-northwest islands, reaching the Hawaiian Islands on Thursday into Friday. Julio is forecasted to hit the Hawaiian Islands as a tropical storm or low level hurricane this weekend. Both storms are expected to bring heavy rain, flash flooding, and strong wind gusts. This type of weather forecast presents the possibility of power outages that could compromise the safety of stored food.
FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
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 affecting just your state, follow @HI_FSISAlert.
FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage.
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 on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.