Emergency Management

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department offers food safety tips for power outages
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 14th, 2006 at 2:44 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 14, 2006 – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends preventing foodborne illnesses by taking care of refrigerated and frozen foods during a power outage, and checking carefully after power is restored to determine whether food is still safe. For Individuals:

  Discard any perishable foods that have been without refrigeration and above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Discard any perishable food that is above 45°F for more than two hours. Food items that can be kept for a limited time without refrigeration include:

  Hard processed cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Romano;

  Butter, margarine;

  Opened fruit juices, canned fruits, vinegar-based dressings, peanut butter, jellies, mustards;

  Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, bagels, fruit pies, fruit, herbs, spices and raw vegetables.

  After power is returned, it is acceptable to re-freeze frozen foods that still contain ice crystals and are 45°F or lower. This may result in a reduction in the quality of the product.

  As a general rule, a well-functioning freezer that is unopened and at least half full will maintain foods at 45°F or lower for about 24 hours.

  Do not taste food to determine if it can be kept or should be thrown out.

  Evaluate each food item separately.

  If in doubt, throw it out. For Food Service Establishments (restaurants, etc):

  You must remain closed until full power has been restored.

  Keep all refrigeration units closed until power has been restored.

  For lengthy outages over 24 hours move food into generator-powered mobile refigeration/freezer units.

  Monitor all refrigeration unit temperatures and keep a record.

  Refrigerated foods should be fine as long as power is out no longer than four (4) hours.

  Discard perishable items held above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Before you open for business, check the temperatures of all potentially hazardous foods to determine what can be saved and what must be discarded (examples of potentially hazardous foods include: milk; cooked or raw meat; poultry; shellfish; fish; rice; pasta; meat or milk-based sauces).

  Keep a list of all potentially hazardous foods that you discard for insurance purposes.

  All potentially hazardous food that has been previously cooked must be discarded if the temperature is greater than 45°F.

  Raw meats must be discarded if 55°F and above. For more information about food safety, view the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Food page. Or contact the health department at (253) 798-6500. 

Tacoma, WA – December 14, 2006 – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends preventing foodborne illnesses by taking care of refrigerated and frozen foods during a power outage, and checking carefully after power is restored to determine whether food is still safe. For Individuals:

  Discard any perishable foods that have been without refrigeration and above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Discard any perishable food that is above 45°F for more than two hours. Food items that can be kept for a limited time without refrigeration include:

  Hard processed cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Romano;

  Butter, margarine;

  Opened fruit juices, canned fruits, vinegar-based dressings, peanut butter, jellies, mustards;

  Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, bagels, fruit pies, fruit, herbs, spices and raw vegetables.

  After power is returned, it is acceptable to re-freeze frozen foods that still contain ice crystals and are 45°F or lower. This may result in a reduction in the quality of the product.

  As a general rule, a well-functioning freezer that is unopened and at least half full will maintain foods at 45°F or lower for about 24 hours.

  Do not taste food to determine if it can be kept or should be thrown out.

  Evaluate each food item separately.

  If in doubt, throw it out. For Food Service Establishments (restaurants, etc):

  You must remain closed until full power has been restored.

  Keep all refrigeration units closed until power has been restored.

  For lengthy outages over 24 hours move food into generator-powered mobile refigeration/freezer units.

  Monitor all refrigeration unit temperatures and keep a record.

  Refrigerated foods should be fine as long as power is out no longer than four (4) hours.

  Discard perishable items held above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Before you open for business, check the temperatures of all potentially hazardous foods to determine what can be saved and what must be discarded (examples of potentially hazardous foods include: milk; cooked or raw meat; poultry; shellfish; fish; rice; pasta; meat or milk-based sauces).

  Keep a list of all potentially hazardous foods that you discard for insurance purposes.

  All potentially hazardous food that has been previously cooked must be discarded if the temperature is greater than 45°F.

  Raw meats must be discarded if 55°F and above. For more information about food safety, view the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Food page. Or contact the health department at (253) 798-6500.

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