Food Safety During a Power Outage
— By Beth Calder, PhD Extension Food Science Specialist, Professor of Food Science, UMaine School of Food and Agriculture
In the event of inclement weather, we have to be prepared to face a power outage at any time in Maine. What is recommended when you experience a power outage and how safe is it to hold perishable foods in the refrigerator? How do we take care of food items that start to thaw in the freezer, especially if we do not have access to a generator? We have several resources offered through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to help keep you and your family informed and safe for any possible risks of foodborne illness when the power goes out.
For more information, refer to the following University of Maine Cooperative Extension publications and video for more detailed information about how to keep your food safe during a power outage:
- Safety of Frozen Foods During a Power Outage
- Food Safety During Disasters
- How to Keep Food Safe After a Power Outage
An additional tip is to invest in an insulated cooler to hold perishable items on ice if you do not have access to a generator during the event of a prolonged power outage. In winter months when temperatures remain at 40° F or below, ice is not needed, and the food can be placed outside of the house into a clean, insulated cooler, which is more sanitary than placing items directly ointo the snow.
Be sure to review all of the helpful links provided in the resource section of this blog post below.
- Safety of Frozen Foods During a Power Outage (UMaine Extension)
- Food Safety During Disasters (UMaine Extension)
- How to Keep Food Safe After a Power Outage (UMaine Extension)
- Food and Water Safety During Power Outages and Floods (FDA)
- Keep Your Food Safe During Emergencies: Power Outages, Floods & Fires (FSIS USDA)
- AskUSDA (USDA)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- American Red Cross (American Red Cross)
- USDA FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.