Wildfire Recovery Guidance for Food Safety

Wildfire Recovery Guidance for Food Safety
Food safety tips to follow if the power goes out
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain a cold temperature. The
refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if unopened. A full freezer will hold the
temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
If the food stored in the refrigerator has been held above 41 F for more than four hours, throw it away.
If food stored in the freezer has thawed but is still below 41 F, it can be refrozen. Although the quality
of the food may be compromised, it still should be safe to eat.
Always keep a thermometer in the upper one-third of a refrigerator or freezer to help monitor the air
temperature and to aid in the determination of whether the unit may have held the food at unsafe
temperatures for more than four hours. If there isn’t a thermometer in the unit, each package of food
should be checked with a probe thermometer to determine its safety.
Perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs should be held below 41 F at all times to
avoid illness when consumed.
If a refrigerator or freezer has been cleared of all spoiled and questionable foods but a spoiled food odor
persists:
Clean the shelves and interior with hot soapy water; then rinse with clean water.
Sanitize surfaces with a bleach solution of one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. If odors still are
present after cleaning, try placing a container of baking soda, activated charcoal or dry coffee grounds
inside the unit. Close the door and wait 24 hours or until the odor is no longer present.
Once power is restored, all unsafe or questionable perishable food should be discarded. When in doubt, throw
it out!
If you need additional information, please contact the Division of Environment Health and Sustainability at 303692-3645.
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