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This hurricane season has certainly been an active one, especially in August of last month.
Hurricane Irene caused heavy flooding and power outages all up and down the East Coast. The storm left many people without electricity, which left many people in the dark about food safety during power outages.
So, how long can food go without being unsafe to eat? Bon Appetit magazine turned to one of BistroMD’s leading dietitians, Joy, for the answer to this question.
Here is an excerpt from the article posted on Bon Apetit magazine's official blog:
Q: How far gone can food be before it’s unsafe to eat? For example, is rancid dairy unsafe to eat, or just unappetizing? How about moldy bread?
A: First, you should never taste a food to determine its safety. If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with a thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals and is at or below 40 degrees F, the food is safe. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety.
The good signs are ice crystals and the bad signs are discoloration. Discard any perishable food after four hours without power. This includes: meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items. Drink only bottle water if flooding occurs and discard all food that has come in contact with floodwaters, including canned goods.
Q: If good meat starts thawing during a power outage, what should you do?
A: In the event of power outages, you will need an alternate source for refrigeration and cooking. A cooler with ice can be used to keep some items cold. If you decide to continue to use the freezer and refrigerator, freeze containers of water for ice (or gel packs) to help keep food cold below suggested temperature.
Q: What healthy, shelf-stable products are there? We immediately think of canned beans and peanut butter, but our readers may want a little more variety in their hurricane fare.
A: Shelf-stable products that also keep health concerns in mind are: tomato sauce, pre-made Indian curry sauce, oatmeal (low sugar and high-fiber), whole wheat pasta, Gatorade, dark chocolate, and protein sources like canned tuna or chicken, black eyed peas, and garbanzo beans.
Most importantly, you will need a can opener, a pair of scissors and disposable utensils, cups and plates.
To read the full story of Joy featured on Bon Appetit's official blog, click here.
For more tips from BistroMD’s experts, please visit our healthy facts section for more information.
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