Advice for keeping stored food fresh should you lose power during the storm

Published: Sep. 4, 2019 at 12:53 PM EDT
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In anticipation of power outages here in the east, keep this advice from the USDA in mind on keeping your stored food safe.

Hurricanes inevitably bring with them power outages as downed trees and other debris can be infamous for taking out electricity infrastructure.

If you lose power, the USDA recommends several tips with respect to the safety of your stored food:

  • Place appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in small plastic storage bags or containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold.
  • 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.
  • Consider getting 50 pounds of dry or block ice if a lengthy power outage is possible. This amount of ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
  • 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.

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