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How to Keep Food Safe Without Electricity

Because almost 2,000 Hopatcong homes were still without power Tuesday night.

About 20,000 Sussex County JCP&L customers were without electricity as of late Monday night, the power company said. Of those, approximately 2,000 were from Hopatcong.

So, the Sussex County Department of Environmental and Public Health released the following information on how to keep food safe during a power outage.

Hopatcong Patch asks that you please share this information with anyone who lost power after Hurricane Irene.

About food in a freezer:

  • Without power, a full upright or chest freezer will keep everything frozen for about two days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about one day.
  • If power will be coming back on fairly soon, you can make the food last longer by keeping the door shut as much as possible.
  • If power will be off for an extended period, if possible, take food to friends’ freezers.

About food in a refrigerator/freezer:

  • Without power, the refrigerator section will keep food cool for 4-6 hours depending on the kitchen temperature.
  • A full, well-functioning freezer unit should keep food frozen for two days. A half-full freezer unit should keep things frozen for about one day.
  • Discard perishable foods like eggs, meat, fish, or milk that has been above 41 degrees for more than four to six hours.

About thawed food:

  • Food still containing ice crystals or that feels refrigerator-cold can be refrozen.
  • Discard any thawed food that has risen to room temperature and remained there for two hours or more.
  • Immediately discard any food with a strange color or odor.
  • Finally, the best advice is "if in doubt, throw it out."
  • If anyone has a concern about food they have eaten in a restaurant that lost power, please call the Health Department at 1-800-439-8550.

For more information, please contact the Sussex County Department of Environmental and Public Health Services at 973-579-0370 or visit www.sussex.nj.us/health.

luzashley August 30, 2011 at 10:30 AM
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