Food safety: What to do if you lose power after a storm, tornado

Many residences have been left without power in the aftermath of the Memorial Day storms and tornadoes and run the risk of potential food borne illnesses as food may become contaminated, damaged or spoiled.

Environmental health professionals at Greene County public health offer tips on how to minimize the potential for food borne illness:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
  • Half-full freezers will last for 24 hours; full freezers will last 48 hours
  • Pack milk, dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, gravy, stuffing and left-overs in coolers of ice
  • Perishable foods held above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for over 2 to 4 hours  should be discarded
  • Food that still contains ice crystals or is 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less may be refrozen
  • If raw food has leaked while thawing, disinfect the areas the food has touched
  • Never taste food to determine its safety and do not eat food you think may be unsafe

Health professionals say the safest approach is to throw out food if there is any doubt.

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