Keeping food safe is a vital job in the foodservice industry that can become difficult when the power goes out. Oftentimes we know when a storm is approaching that carries a high risk of power outages. There are steps you can take to keep your food safe before a storm approaches.
- Freeze water ahead of the storm. Use 1qt plastic bags or small containers. Put them around the food in your fridge and freezer to keep everything colder for longer.
- Freeze refrigerated items that you won’t need immediately. Leftovers, fresh meat and poultry and even milk can be frozen in advance. This will keep them at a safe temperature in the event you lose electricity.
- Consider buying dry ice or blocks of ice. Bigger chunks will keep everything colder for a longer period. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18-cubic-foot freezer cold for up to two days.
- Place meat and poultry to one side on a tray. That will prevent cross-contamination from any drippings/juices if the meat begins to thaw.
- Don’t open the refrigerator or freezer. The more you keep them closed, the colder they will stay. A closed refrigerator could stay cold for about four hours and a freezer for about 48 hours if it’s fully stocked.
- Know when to get rid of the food in your fridge or freezer. If you’re unsure of how long you’ve been without power or whether the food has gone bad, just get rid of it.
Remember safe refrigeration and freezer temperatures: refrigerators should be at 40°F or below to maintain food safety and freezers should be at 0°F or lower.