June 20th the USDA and Food Safety Inspection Service, offers food safety advice to those who might be affected by tropical cyclone three. The national hurricane center expects the potential cyclone will affect areas of central Texas to the panhandle in Florida late Wednesday. The USDA offers advice to restaurant owners, hospitality, retail, basically anyone who has to adhere to food safety conditions because these storms pose the issues of potential power outages and flooding which can cause stored food to become compromised in quality.
Straight from their website here are some tips to follow:
Steps to follow in advance of losing power:
- Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
- Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes so don’t overfill the containers.
- Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
- Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
- Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
- Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
- Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
Steps to follow if the power goes out:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
- Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
- Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.
Steps to follow after a weather emergency:
- Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
- Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
- Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
- Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
- When in doubt, throw it out.
The precautions and steps listed above are crucial to maintain the quality of your food during an emergency such as this.
chameleon™ provides this kind of visibility into your restaurant/convenience store all remotely. Notifications for walk-in freezer/coolers above or below a set temperature will go straight to you and your team so that you know exactly when your walk-in’s loose power.* Not only does it provide the visibility of connection, but chameleon also reports real time temperatures and stores all historic data for later use. Let Small Box Energy help ease your mind when it comes to food safety, call or email us today for a demo of the chameleon platform.
*additional backup power feature required