Play it safe with food, prepare before a storm
Power outages often accompany summer storms, but there are steps you can take before a storm to give the food in your refrigerator or freezer a little more time.
“After a disaster, electrical power may be disrupted for hours, sometimes days,” says LSU AgCenter nutritionist and food safety expert Dr. Beth Reames. “There are things you can do to prepare for an outage which may extend the life of foods in your refrigerator or freezer.”
Here are some tips:
–Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
–Make sure the freezer is set so it keeps the temperature at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit while it’s running and that the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees F.
–Freeze containers (such as milk cartons or plastic jugs) of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.
–Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need.
–Group food together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer.
–Separate raw meat and poultry items from other foods. Place them on the bottom shelf.
–Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
–Have coolers on hand to keep food from your refrigerator cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store them in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler.
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