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How To Keep Your Food Safe, If You Lose Power

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has published food safety recommendations for people who may lose power in Hurricane Sandy.

“As  important  as  it  is  to  have enough food and water on hand for your family  in  case  you lose power, is to make sure you keep the food safe to avoid  the  potential  for food-borne illness,” said New Hampshire’s Public Health  Director  Dr.  José  Montero.  “Food safety is always a big concern when  the  power  is  off  for an extended period of time.  We would advise people to take extra care when determining if their food should be saved or thrown  out.   Sometimes  it  can  be  difficult  to  tell  if  it has been contaminated  with dangerous bacteria.  We would advise people if they have any doubt to throw it out.”

The US Department of Agriculture recommends taking the following steps during and after a weather emergency:

·         Never taste food to determine if it is safe

·         Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible

to maintain the cold temperature

·         The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if

it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature

approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door

remains closed

·         Food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or

is at 40°F or below

·         Get block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as

cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an extended

period of time

·         Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish,

soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours

without power.

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