Any Florida or Miami native knows how powerful hurricanes can be and the destruction a heavy hurricane season can bring. Long power outages and flood dangers pose a threat not only to your property but also to your food. Having a well-secured plan can help you and your family be well prepared for the risk of food safety during and after hurricane season.
Bacteria that cause illness can grow in temperatures between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are commonly referred to as the danger zone for food safety. Bacteria grown in the danger zone does not necessarily change the taste, appearance, or smell of the food but can make you ill.
If your power goes out, food in the refrigerator can be safely consumed for up to four hours, while food from the freezer is safe to consume between 24 and 48 hours if the freezer is still holding a chill. This does not always mean your food will be safe after 24 hours. Check to make sure your items have not gone room temperature or warm.
Never taste food to see if it is safe to consume. Throw out any food you are suspicious of, especially if it has been in contact with floodwater, even canned foods. Look for holes, leaks, and punctures. Bacteria from the flood water can infect your food and make it harmful to eat.
To prepare, buy ice packs and coolers and freeze water in separate containers to make ice. This will provide you ways to keep your food chilled longer and out of the danger zone. Use a thermometer to see if temperatures for meat and egg products are safe (this is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Frozen food must be zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.)
This food safety update is brought to you by UReg FDA Registrations, Miami-based FDA Food Registration, and FDA Device Registration. For more information on FDA registrations and regulations, please visit us online.