USDA: Develop a Food Safety Plan for Hurricane Season


The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service urges residents along coastal areas to have a hurricane food safety plan. USDA says when a hurricane hits, prolonged power outages and flood damage are two of the biggest risks to food. The recommendations including buying ice packs and coolers days before a hurricane arrives, and freezing containers of water to make ice.

Additionally, USDA says to use an appliance thermometer to determine the safety of your perishable foods. Meat, poultry, fish and egg products must be kept at 40 Fahrenheit or below and frozen food at zero degrees or below. Illness-causing bacteria grow in temperatures between 40 and 140 Fahrenheit. Bacteria that develop at these temperatures generally do not alter in a noticeable way. During a power outage, a refrigerator will keep food safe for up to four hours, and a full freezer will hold temperatures for 48 hours or 24 hours if half full.