Tips for Avoiding Foodborne Illnesses During a Power Outage
Although we’ve had a warmer than average start to winter in Texas, everyone knows the cold front is well on its way.
Last year, many of us were taken by surprise when inclement weather swept through Texas and left millions without power for days. While we can only hope that history won’t repeat itself, the team at Certified On The Fly loves to stay prepared when it comes to food safety.
Here are our top tips for avoiding foodborne illnesses during a lengthy power outage.
Start By Planning Ahead
If you know that an immense cold front is on its way in, make sure that you’ve already planned ahead and purchased the necessary supplies. Some of the most reliable equipment to have on standby include:
- A portable backup generator
- A company of extra-large coolers
- Ice, ice packs, and dry ice
Even being prepared with these few items could be the step that saves your restaurant’s food from spoiling during the outage.
What to Do When the Power Goes Out?
When the power does go out and you aren’t prepared with the above items, here are some tips to remember when trying to safely salvage as much food as possible.
Remember the 4-Hour Window
As long as you don’t open the refrigerator door during a power outage, it has the capability of keeping your food preserved for at least 4 hours. Any time beyond the 4-hour window, and you should discard any perishable items in the unit (i.e. meats, eggs, leftovers, poultry, fish, soft cheeses).
Put Your Appliance Thermometer to Work
Your appliance thermometers are crucial during a power outage. Keep one in both the refrigerator and freezer to monitor their temperature throughout the power outage.
Remember, the safest refrigerator temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and the safest freezer temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Freeze What You Can
Remember, your freezer is capable of keeping food safer, for longer as long as you don’t frequently open and shut the door.
A full freezer can preserve food for at least 48 hours, while a half-full freezer preserves for 24 hours.
So, if you are worried about certain foods in your refrigerator going bad, make a quick transfer and keep those doors closed until the power comes back on.
When the Power’s Back On: Don’t Taste Test
Once your power has been restored, if you notice any signs of spoilage like meat discoloration or know that certain items were left at risk, just throw them away.
Risking a foodborne illness with a taste test is never a smart move, and you’re much better off just replacing the goods you don’t think weathered the storm.
Be Prepared for Any Food Emergencies With the Help of Certified On The Fly
If you find yourself in a situation where your restaurant’s food safety is at risk, you want to have the knowledge to protect your inventory and your customers. At Certified On The Fly we provide an affordable online course that gets you and your staff food handler certified with up-to-date information on food safety.
Register online today and start your path to a safer food future.Back to Blog