Jan 27, 2015 6:01 AM

Food precautions urged if power goes out

From staff and wire reports

CONCORD - Widespread power outages are not expected as a big snowstorm makes its way through New Hampshire, but the state Department of Health and Human Services says residents need to take some precautions about food if they lose their electricity.

The department says a refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. After that, foods like meat, poultry, fish, soft cheese, milk, eggs and deli items should be discarded.

A freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours.

The department suggests getting a block of ice or dry ice to keep the refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an extended period of time.

For residential homes DHHS recommends taking the following steps during and after a loss of electrical power:
• Never taste food to determine its safety.
• Food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees or lower.
• Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power.
• When in doubt, throw it out.

Retail should cease operation and contact the Food Protection Section when they have experienced any of the
• Disruption of water service or interruption of electrical service for longer than two hours.
• Have a contaminated water supply or failed sewer system.

The Food Protection Section will approve the resumption of operations when an imminent health hazard no longer exists or when the establishment has a plan to mitigate threats to health and safety after a power outage.

Retail establishments with questions about safe food handling can visit the DHHS website. Consumers or establishments can call DPHS Food Protection Section at 603-271-4589
or after- hours at 271-5300; or by email at foodprotection@dhhs.state.nh.us.

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