FLORIDA – In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety.

The Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center suggests to discard any perishable food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. Not all spoiled food will have an unusual odor, color, or texture, so just remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

Before the storm:

  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.

  • Group food together in the freezer. This helps the food stay cold longer.

After the storm:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door remains closed.

  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

  • Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold,” or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.

  • Eggs and other foods need to be store at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.

Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.