Food Safety Guidelines to Remember During a Power Outage
We've all been taught throughout our lives to not waste food. Reprimanded when a portion of our dinner goes untouched. So when a power outage happens, we all scramble to save our precious grub from spoiling. According to the United States Government guidelines, we should probably throw out more items than you realize. Unfortunately, a whole lot of people around Connecticut still don't have their power back, and combined with the Summertime heat that we're having after this tropical storm, it spells doom for perishables.
Basically, a common refrigerator will keep your food safely below 40 degrees for about 4 hours after the power goes out. After that 4 hours, the outside temp starts to seep in, and before you know it, everything in the sealed fridge will be at room temperature. If you keep your freezer unopened, it may be possible to hold the temp in there for a lot longer. The common standard for spoilage that the government uses is having a product sit above 40 degrees for more than two hours.
So, based on that model, any raw, or leftover cooked, meat, poultry, or seafood should be discarded. Lunchmeats, salads, and canned meats should all go. As far as dairy goes - All soft, shredded, and low fat cheeses have to go, but you can keep hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss, and Provolone. Milk, cream, sour cream, and yogurts should be tossed, but butter and margarine will be fine. Eggs should go, raw, cooked, or hard boiled.
If your Mayo, Tartar, Horseradish, creamy salad dressings, or spaghetti sauce jars have been opened, and they have been in temps above 50 degrees for more than 8 hours, toss them. Breads and pastries should do fine, but refrigerated dough and cooked pasta should be thrown away.
Hopefully you've gotten your power back by now, or you've had time to get that special frozen treat over to your neighbor's house with the generator. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out, there might be some gross bacteria or fungus starting to grow on your warm, 2 day old pasta salad.