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Food Safety for Homeowners During Power Outages

DHHS Provides Recommendations on
                 Food Safety During Power Outages
Concord,  NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS) is releasing food safety recommendations for residents who have lost
power in their homes as a result of the ice storm.
"Unexpected power outages can be  very  frustrating,"  stated DHHS
Commissioner  Nicholas  Toumpas. "One big issue of concern is whether the
food  in your home is still safe to eat.  For the health and safety of your
loved  ones,  and  to  avoid  the potential of food borne illnesses, we are
advising  people  to  take  extra precautions when determining if your food
should be saved or thrown away."
"In this type of situation you just can't be too careful," said Director of
Public  Health Dr Jose Montero.  "Even if food doesn't smell bad, and looks
safe,  it  may  have been out of a safe temperature range long enough to be
contaminated  with  dangerous  bacteria. A  good  rule  to follow in this
situation, when in doubt, throw it out."

The US Department of Agriculture recommends taking the following steps
during and after a weather emergency:
        Never taste food to determine its safety
        Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as
           possible to maintain the cold temperature
        The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours
           if it is unopened.  A full freezer will hold the temperature
           approximately 48 hours (24 hours if its half full and the
           door remains closed)
        Food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals
           or is at 40 degrees F or below
        Get block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer
           as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an
           extended period of time
        Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry,
           fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items
           after 4 hours without power

Retail establishments with questions about safe food handling during a
power outage, please visit the DHHS website at: