Power out? Here are some food safety tips

Health officials are advising Miami Valley residents without power today to keep the fridge doors closed and a thermometer handy to keep perishable foods safe during the power outage.

To prevent food poisoning, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and frozen food should be kept at 0 degrees or colder, said Bill Wharton, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

With power outages affecting families around the state, that’s not easy. So Public Health officials are advising families to pack their refrigerators and freezers with ice and keep the appliance doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold conditions.

About 50 pounds of dry ice will keep an 18-cubic foot freezer full for two days, “but dry ice gets kind of expensive,” he said.

Dayton Power & Light is offering free bags of ice at three locations in the Miami Valley:

  • Meijer, 3928 Colonel Glenn Highway, Fairborn
  • City of Dayton Fire Station 13, 1723 W. Third St., Dayton
  • Kroger, 4532 Northwoods Blvd., Vandalia

If possible, transfer food that needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen to a neighbor or relative’s house if they still have power, Wharton advised.

In general, food can be refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Use a digital, dial or instant-read food thermometer or appliance thermometer to check the temperature.

Do not taste food to determine if it’s safe, and check each food items separately.

Discard perishable food (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that’s been warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.

“There’s an old adage in public health, ‘If in doubt, throw it out,’” Wharton said.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7457 or peggy.o’farrell@coxinc.com.