It has now been a year since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida. That means that as we enter October, we shouldn’t let our guard down, as we are still in the peak of hurricane season. When a hurricane strikes, there are many precautions that you can take to ensure your safety, and that includes food safety. Remember these tips to keep your food safe:
Stock up before the hurricane. Stock up on canned and dry goods. You will want ready-to-eat foods in case of a power outage that can last for several days.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. If the power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to prevent food from spoiling. According to the USDA, a refrigerator will keep food safe for four hours and a freezer for 48 hours if it is full (USDA 2021).
Take care of perishable foods first. You should keep a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer; that way, you can check the temperature when the power is back on. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA 2022), you can eat or refreeze perishables if the temperatures are at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is above 40 for two or more hours or you are unsure, it is safer to throw it out.
Avoid using tap water. Use bottled water until you know your water supply is safe. Avoid using it to wash or prepare food. Instead, use bottled water or boil tap water for at least one minute before use.
Storing canned goods. Store canned goods on high shelves and cabinets in case of flooding. If canned foods have been submerged in flood water, they may be contaminated. Remove and discard wrappers and inspect cans. If they are not damaged, clean and sanitize properly and relabel them using a permanent marker. If in doubt, throw it out.
Remember that food safety is critical during a hurricane, so take the necessary steps to keep your food safe and avoid any possible illnesses.
See more info here: https://lakerlutznews.com/2023/09/116951/
Pasco County Extension Intern, Syreeta McDonald, contributed to this article.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2021, May 10).What’s Your Food Safety Plan for Hurricane Season?.https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2021/05/10/whats-your-food-safety-plan-hurricane-season
FDA. (2022, February 22) Protect Food and Water During Hurricanes and Other Storms. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/protect-food-and-water-during-hurricanes-and-other-storms