Food Safety During and After Power Outages

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Food Safety Program reminds consumers that winter storms and power outages mean that food safety issues require special attention.

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Be Prepared:

  • Have a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice.
  • Keep on hand a few days worth of ready-to-eat, shelf-stable or canned food that do not require cooking or cooling.

When the Power Goes Out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4-6 hours if it is unopened.
  • Refrigerated foods should be kept at 40F or below.

Once the Power is Restored:

  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the unit, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the thermometer reads 40F or below, the food is safe and may be kept refrigerated. It is safe to refreeze the food, but the quality and flavor of the food may be affected.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the unit, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook and use.
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