Knowing what to do with the food in your refrigerator and freezer during a power outage, can help you stay healthy, as well as avoid costly product loss. We’ve compiled a few tips for you based on suggestions from the FDA.
First thing of importance is to be prepared before you ever have a power outage. Make sure that you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerators and freezers. This will ensure that once power is restored, you can check that the food was kept at an acceptable temperature. When storing food in your coolers and freezers, it’s good to group foods together, as this helps foods stay cold longer. If possible, keep the freezer full. Fill empty space with bags of ice, bottled water, or gel packs. Also, make sure that you know where you can purchase dry ice or block ice, as you may need these items, should you experience a prolonged power outage.
During a power outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, as much as possible, to help maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold and safe for about 4 hours. If power is off for longer than 4 hours, you can transfer food to a cooler and fill the cooler with ice or cold gel packs. Make sure there is enough ice to keep the food in the cooler at or below 40 °F.
A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the doors remain closed. If the freezer is only half full, the temperature will keep for 24 hours. If the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, buy dry ice or block ice. 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot freezer for 2 days. Make sure that the dry ice does not come in direct contact with the food and do not touch it with your bare hands.
Once power is restored, the safety of the food will need to be determined. If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature as soon as the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40 °F or below, the food is considered safe and may be refrozen. If no appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, each package of food will need to be checked for safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
With refrigerated foods, as long as the power was not out for more than 4 hours and the door was kept shut, the food should be safe. Make sure to discard any perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, egss, or any leftovers, that have been kept above 40 °F for more than two hours (no matter what their appearance is).
Be sure to follow the above recommendations when power is restored. Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Never taste food to determine its safety. As a general rule, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
The Benefits of E-Control Systems
E-Control Systems can be a tremendous benefit during a power outage. Our wireless temperature monitoring system is configured to take temperature readings every 15 minutes and transmit those readings to our secure cloud, where users can access the data 24/7 from any computer, smart phone, or tablet. Users will be alerted if any temperatures go out of range.
Our patented intelligent sensors are battery operated and have data logging capabilities that can store up to 2-months’ worth of data, should your power or network go out. This means that in case of a power outage, our sensors will continue monitoring the temperatures of you coolers and freezers. Once your power is restored, the sensors will automatically transfer all of the stored data to the cloud. Additionally, E-Control Systems’ IntelliBreaker™ offers power interruption monitoring that will alert you to any power outages.Follow this link to find out How E-Control Systems Works
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