Food safety tips when the power goes out - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Food safety tips when the power goes out

By Ashley Swann - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When the electricity goes out, even for just a couple of hours, it's important to take a few steps to ensure the safety of the food in your refrigerator and freezer. The risk of food illness is heightened when foods are not kept at the proper temperatures.

First things first, always keep a thermometer in your fridge. The temperature should read 41 degrees or below. When the power goes out, a refrigerator will maintain this temperature for about four hours but you need to keep the door closed as much as possible.

After four hours, the temperature will start to rise. Perishable items like meats, most dairy products & eggs should be thrown out if held above 40 degrees for over two hours.

Things like fruit juice, jelly, ketchup, mustard and vinegar-based dressings can be saved, but creamy-based dressings, cookie dough, cut fruit & cooked foods should be tossed.

As for your frozen foods, the temperature in here should be at zero degrees.

A full freezer will hold this temperature for about 48 hours, or only 24 hours if it's half full. After that, anything like meats & ice cream, kept over 40 degrees for over two hours should be tossed.

If it's below 40 degrees or still has ice crystals, the good news is it can be re-frozen.

If you have any questions about the safety of a food item or it smells or appears funny, the safest motto to keep you and your family safe is, when in doubt, throw it out.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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