Keeping food safe during power outage

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Updated: 7/24/2013 10:39 am Published: 7/24/2013 10:04 am

The Tulsa Health Department issued food safety guidelines for those who are experiencing power outages.

It is important that individuals do not rely on their eyes and sense of smell when determining if food is safe.

“Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of food before you cook or eat it,” said Debbie Watts, Tulsa Health Department food protection services manager. “Food kept above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours should be considered unsafe and thrown away.”

Foods of greatest concern are meats, lunch meats, fish and shellfish, poultry, soft cheese, dairy, eggs, and cut fruits and melons. Individuals should keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

With the freezer closed, foods usually will stay cold at least a day, perhaps two or three days depending on the quality of insulation. If food stored in a freezer still has ice crystals when the power is turned back on, it can be safely refrozen or cooked at a later date.

If it seems likely that your freezer will not be on for several days, dry ice may help keep frozen food from spoiling. Do not touch dry ice with your bare hands. Allow 2 ½ to 3 pounds of ice per cubic food of freezer space.
The safest advice to follow is, "when in doubt throw it out".

The Tulsa Health Department works to safeguard public health through education on safe food handling practices and the regulation of food service establishments. THD performs more than 11,000 inspections of approximately 3,500 food service establishments annually. In addition, approximately 500 food safety training classes are conducted each year to educate restaurant employees and other food employees on food safety.

For more food safety tips please visit

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