Keeping Food Safe During Power Outages - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Keeping Food Safe During Power Outages

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Thousands of Tulsans are without power after damaging storms overnight.

The Tulsa Health Department has issued the following food safety guidelines:

It is important that individuals do not rely on their eyes and sense of smell when determining if food is safe.

"Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of food before you cook or eat it," said Debbie Watts, Tulsa Health Department food protection services manager. "Food kept above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours should be considered unsafe and thrown away."

Foods of greatest concern are meats, lunch meats, fish and shellfish, poultry, soft cheese, dairy, eggs, and cut fruits and melons. Individuals should keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

With the freezer closed, foods usually will stay cold at least a day, perhaps two or three days depending on the quality of insulation. If food stored in a freezer still has ice crystals when the power is turned back on, it can be safely refrozen or cooked at a later date.

If it seems likely that your freezer will not be on for several days, dry ice may help keep frozen food from spoiling. Do not touch dry ice with your bare hands. Allow 2 ½ to 3 pounds of ice per cubic food of freezer space.

The safest advice to follow is, "when in doubt throw it out".

For more food safety tips, please visit www.tulsa-health.org

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