Food Safety Broadcasts

WSGW RADIO PRESENTATION

September 12, 2017 - Food Safety During Emergencies

Disasters may strike at any time and we need to be prepared for, and be able to respond to, any type of emergency that may hit home.  Being prepared in advance can help our communities and families recover more quickly.  So how do you get prepared?

  1. Build an emergency supply kit for you and your family.
     
  2. Make a family emergency plan.
     
  3. Stay informed about the different types of hazards that could occur and what you can do before, during, and after.

Try to assemble an emergency supplies kit well in advance of an emergency.  Be sure to include enough supplies for each household member and pet for at least 72 hours.

Did you know that you need 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation?  So if you have a family of 4 you should store 12 gallons of water!

Make a plan on where you would go and how you would communicate if you and your family were separated during an emergency.  Pick a family member that lives across the state, or another state, that would be less likely impacted by the same disaster.

If the power goes out:

  • Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to make sure that temperatures remain food safe during the outage.  Safe temperatures are 40° F or lower in the refrigerator and 0° F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm.  These should be small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold.  Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately.  This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.
  • Group foods together in the freezer – this “igloo” effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.  A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed.  A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross-contamination of thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage.  Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer.  Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.
  • Check each item separately.  Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check frozen food for ice crystals.  The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safety refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below.
  • Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

 

Sources:  USDA-Food Safety & Inspection Service
                Food Safety News
                Saginaw County Department of Public Health

 

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