Tidelands Health encourages community to follow food safety guidelines in response to power outages caused by Hurricane Matthew

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GEORGETOWN, SC – In the wake of power outages caused by Hurricane Matthew, Tidelands Health is encouraging community members to avoid food-borne illness by following federal food safety guidelines.

Perishable food not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when thoroughly cooked, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Food safety should be a top priority whenever there’s a loss of power,” said Crystal Cates, system clinical nutrition manager for Tidelands Health. “The best approach is to discard food if there’s any question about whether it’s OK to eat.”

Here are some Food and Drug Administration safety tips that community members should follow:

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible during a power outage. An unopened refrigerator should be able to maintain food at a safe temperature for approximately four hours without power. A full freezer should hold safe temperatures for approximately 48 hours (or 24 hours if the freezer is half full).
  • Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible.
  • Discard any perishable food including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers held at temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours.
  • Once power is restored, check the temperature of your freezer. If the food still contains ice crystals or the thermometer reads 40 degrees or lower, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • Don’t rely on odor to determine if food is safe to eat. Never taste food to determine if it’s safe.
  • Avoid consuming food that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Individuals with additional questions about food safety are encouraged to visit foodsafety.gov for more information.

-This is from a Press Release.