During a power outage, you will need to take extra precautions that the foods you eat and the water you drink are safe. During a storm, tap water available in your area may become contaminated. Frozen and refrigerated food items without a source of electricity may go bad. As flooding occurs, immediately evaluate stored food and water supply. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when it is thoroughly cooked.
Follow these food guidelines to keep your family safe during a storm-provoked power outage:
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain a cold temperature.
During a warning, set freezers and refrigerators to their coldest settings. If the power goes out, a refrigerator will keep food cold for up to four hours if unopened; an unopened freezer will stay cold 48 hours if full and approximately 24 hours if only half full.
Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source such as bottled water.
Thoroughly cook frozen and refrigerated foods.
If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it’s important that the food is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any food borne bacteria that may be present is destroyed.
Take extra care with baby’s food.
If possible, use prepared, canned formula and jarred foods that require no added water. If you must use concentrated formulas, be sure to add water from a safe source, such as bottled water.
For more information, visit www. foodsafety.gov or call the FDA toll-free number at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.