Due to the Quad-Cities’ expected long-term power outages, the Rock Island County Health Department’s environmental health team has put together this information sheet regarding food safety.
Bottom line: When in doubt, throw it out.
Refrigerators: Regarding this power outage, if your electricity was off overnight, food in the refrigerator already must be thrown away.
· When power goes off in the refrigerator, you can normally expect food inside to stay safely cold for four to six hours.
· High-protein foods (dairy products, meat, fish, poultry) should be consumed as soon as possible if power is not restored immediately. They cannot be stored safely at room temperature.
· Whole fruits and vegetables can be kept safely at room temperature until there are obvious signs of spoilage (mold, slime, wilt).
· Discard all food items in disposable plastic bags.
Freezers: Keep the doors closed!
· When the electricity is off, a fully stocked freezer should keep food safe for TWO days
· If the door remains closed, a half-full freezer can keep foods safe for about ONE day.
· If your friends have electricity, divide your frozen foods among their freezers.
· Seek freezer space in a store, church, school, or commercial meat locker or freezer that has electrical service.
· Know where you can buy dry and block ice. Dry ice freezes everything it touches; 25 pounds of it will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. When using dry ice, though, be sure to take several precautions. Never touch dry ice with bare hands! Also, do not stick your head into a freezer that contains dry ice. It gives off carbon dioxide, which replaces oxygen, so leave the door open a short time before examining your food