Are you prepared for an emergency like a power outage, water service interruption or a food security issue?
Emergency Planning is crucial to the success of your business.
Before the power goes out
- Ensure refrigerated temperatures by using thermometers. Refrigerator temperature should be maintained at 40 ºF or below, and 0 ºF or below for the freezer. This will help keep food safe longer during a power outage.
- Purchase a back up generator. This investment could save you thousands of dollars.
- Freeze any perishable foods such as milk, meats, and leftovers. They will have a better chance of staying cold and safe during a power outage.
- Freeze gallon size bags of water (don’t overfill, leave room for expansion) – it will serve 2 purposes – to keep food cold and offer fresh water should there be a water disruption.
- Consider buying dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during periods of prolonged power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. Caution: If you use dry ice to cool food, it may cause an unsafe build-up of carbon dioxide in enclosed spaces.
During a Power Outage:
- Make note of the time the power went out.
- Utilize your back up generator – #1 priority!
- Do not place hot food in refrigerators or freezers. This will rapidly raise the temperature inside the refrigerator or freezer and may make more food unusable.
- Maintain hot potentially hazardous food at 140°F or above. Utilize chafing dishes.
- If necessary, use ice or/ice baths to rapidly cool small batches of hot food.
- Keep appliance doors CLOSED as much as possible. Opening and closing doors will release cold air and will reduce your ability to store perishable items.
- A fully stocked refrigerator will stay cold for about 4 hours. A freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours if half full or 48 hours if full.
- If the power will be out for more than 4 hours transfer perishable foods in the refrigerator to a cooler packed with ice to maintain a temperature of 40 ºF or below.
- Are you able to prepare menu items that will utilize your refrigerated foods first? Move on to the freezer if feasible.
After the Power Returns
- Check both air and food temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer. If foods in both are still under 40 ºF, they are safe to keep and/or refreeze. If the foods are above 40 ºF, they should be discarded.
- Also check foods that were in a cooler before putting them back into the refrigerator. Discard any that are over 40 ºF.
- Unsure if a food is still safe? Review these food evaluation charts that are available for refrigerated foods and the frozen foods after a power outage.
- Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture, or feels warm to the touch.
- Never taste a food to determine its safety.
A printable Resource – Don’t let an Emergency dampen your service, health or bottom line.