Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left millions of people without power. When you don't have power, your refrigerated and frozen foods are at risk of going bad. So how can you ensure your food is safe to consume during or after a power outage?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides several guidelines to help you determine foods you can keep. Refrigerators will only keep food safe for about 4 hours. Freezers can remain cool for two days if it's full or 1 day if it's half full. The important thing is you keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
If your refrigerator reaches 40 degrees or warmer for more than 2 hours, you will have to discard all meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as most cheeses, dairy and products containing raw eggs. Your fruits and vegetables should remain safe to eat.
When power is restored, you can safely refreeze foods in your freezer as long as they still have ice crystals and feel as cold as they would in the refrigerator. Do not try to refreeze ice cream or frozen yogurt, these products need to be thrown out.
If any food items came in contact with flood waters, discard them immediately. The food is now contaminated with bacteria and is not safe to consume.
For more information on how to determine what foods are still edible after a power outage or natural disaster, visit (the website shown here) www.fsis.usda.gov.