The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has advice for Virginians about food safety before, during and after power outages that may be caused by Hurricane Sandy. Sandy appears to be on track to cause power outages in eastern Virginia, and depending on the track she takes up the east coast, throughout the entire state.
VDACS' food safety experts have a lot of advice, but here is Tip #1: when in doubt, throw it out. Second to that is, throw out suspect contents of your refrigerator and check food in your freezer carefully to be sure it's still safe to eat when power is restored.
They also suggest some actions consumers can take prior to a storm to help prevent spoilage or ruined food. People who have large, chest type freezers should make certain that the freezer is full. If it is not, they can freeze containers of water to fill unused space and then if the power goes out, throw a blanket, rug or some other insulating materials over the freezer. A full freezer that is not opened should maintain safe temperatures for several days.
A smaller freezer in a refrigerator will not maintain safe temperatures as long as a chest freezer, but if it is full and not opened, food could remain safe for a couple of days.
After the storm, VDACS' food inspectors will inspect food processors, grocery stores and other retail stores in affected areas to ensure food safety. However, individual consumers also need to be aware that the potential for foodborne illness at home grows every day that the power is out.
VDACS offers the following basic tips for keeping food safe to eat during a power outage:
Once power is restored, consumers will need to determine whether their food is safe to eat using these guidelines:
Keep in mind that perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked. Never taste food to determine its safety, and always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
The following foods are safe to consume even if they have been held above 40° F for two hours or more: hard cheeses, processed cheeses, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, jelly, relish, mustard, olives, pickles, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, fruit pies, bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, fruit juices, canned fruits, whole fresh fruits and raw vegetables except cut greens and cut tomatoes.
301 Arboretum Place, Richmond
Can't find something?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.