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Health officials give advice for keeping food after power outage

MADISON (WKOW) — After many people experienced power outages Friday, health officials are giving advice on determining if refrigerated and frozen foods are safe to eat.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the safety of food after losing power for an extended period of time,” says Doug Voegeli, a director of environmental Health. “We always advise people, when in doubt, throw it out!”

He adds to never taste food to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at an unsafe temperature for too long, bacteria could be growing on the food, which could lead to foodborne illness.

“Refrigerated items are usually safe as long as the power is out no more than 4 to 6 hours, and the refrigerator was kept shut.”

Health officials recommend discarding any perishable food, such as meat, poultry, fish, or eggs that has been above 41° F for more than two hours and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

They also advise if you are unsure how long products have been held above 41ºF, or you do not have a food thermometer to check temperatures, discard the products.

Frozen foods will typically stay frozen in a closed freezer for up to 24 hours.

When the power is restored, allow time for your refrigerator to reach 41° F or below before restocking your food.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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