USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Western Heat Wave



USDA Workplace of Communications
Press (202) 720-9113
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WASHINGTON, August 18, 2020 — The U.S. Division of Agriculture’s (USDA) Meals Security and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing meals security suggestions for residents within the U.S. West Coast who could also be impacted by energy outages from an intense Western warmth wave.

The Nationwide Climate Service is reporting that there’s a sturdy mid/upper-level ridge of excessive stress that’s accountable for the warmth wave throughout the western U.S. This method is producing excessive temperatures that may soar effectively past the century mark, with many places surpassing 110 levels Fahrenheit within the Desert Southwest, and maybe remoted spots exceeding 120 levels Fahrenheit, particularly in the present day. Some areas in California might expertise energy outages resulting from rolling blackouts. Energy outages can compromise the security of saved meals. FSIS recommends that buyers take the next steps to scale back meals waste and the danger of foodborne sickness earlier than, throughout, and after an influence outage happens.

Steps to observe upfront of dropping energy:

  • Maintain equipment thermometers in fridges and the freezers to make sure temperatures stay meals protected throughout an influence outage. Protected temperatures are 40 levels Fahrenheit or decrease within the fridge, zero levels Fahrenheit or decrease within the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage luggage or small containers. These containers are sufficiently small to suit across the meals within the fridge, freezer, or coolers to assist preserve meals chilly. Keep in mind, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated objects, corresponding to leftovers, milk, and recent meat and poultry that you could be not want instantly—this helps preserve them at a protected temperature longer.
  • Know the place you may get dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers available to maintain fridge meals chilly if the facility shall be out for greater than 4 hours.
  • Group meals collectively within the freezer—this ‘igloo’ impact helps the meals keep chilly longer.
  • Maintain a number of days’ price of ready-to-eat meals that don’t require cooking or cooling. 

Steps to observe if the facility goes out:

  • Maintain the fridge and freezer doorways closed as a lot as attainable. A fridge will preserve meals chilly for about 4 hours if the door is saved closed. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to at least one facet of the freezer or on a tray to forestall cross-contamination of thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to maintain the fridge as chilly as attainable throughout an prolonged energy outage. Fifty kilos of dry ice ought to preserve a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer chilly for 2 days. 

Steps to observe after an influence outage:

  • Test the temperature within your fridge and freezer. Discard any perishable meals (corresponding to meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or leftovers) that has been above 40 levels Fahrenheit for 2 hours or extra.
  • Test every merchandise individually. Throw out any meals that has an uncommon odor, colour, or texture or feels heat to the contact.
  • Test frozen meals for ice crystals. The meals in your freezer that partially or utterly thawed could also be safely refrozen if it nonetheless comprises ice crystals or is 40 levels Fahrenheit or beneath.
  • By no means style a meals to resolve if it’s protected.
  • When doubtful, throw it out.

FSIS will present related meals security info in the course of the warmth wave on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.

FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has directions for protecting frozen and refrigerated meals protected. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” may be downloaded and printed for reference throughout an influence outage. additionally has details about throughout disasters and emergencies.

If in case you have questions on meals security throughout extreme climate, or some other meals security subjects, name the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat dwell with a meals security specialist at Ask USDA. These providers can be found in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to six p.m. Jap Time, Monday by means of Friday. Solutions to often requested query can be discovered 24/7 at Ask USDA.

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