Food Service Guidelines for Power Outages
During a power failure a food service facility is in its most
vulnerable state. Not only are the lights off and the cash register
is inoperable but you are in danger of losing money due to lost
product and product quality. One of the leading causes of
food-borne illness is food being in the temperature danger zone
(41° F to 135° F) for an extended period of time. Below are some
tips to help you maintain product quality and safety.
If your freezer loses power, here are a few tips to follow:
- Without power, a full upright or chest freezer will keep
everything frozen for up to 72 hours (3 days) as long as the door
remains closed. A half-full freezer will keep foods frozen for
about 1 day.
- If power will be off for an extended period, take the food to a
friend's freezer, locate a commercial freezer or use dry ice.
- When the power comes back on, check to see if food has thawed.
If ice crystals are present in the packages holding the food, the
food can safely be refrozen. If no ice crystals are present and
food has thawed, it can be saved if it is refrigerator cold. Thawed
food should be cooked within 24 hours. Cooked food can be frozen
for later use
If your refrigerator loses power, here are a few tips to
- Without power, a refrigerator will keep food cool for up to
about 8 hours depending on how cold the refrigerator was before the
power outage. Bagged or block ice placed in the refrigerator will
help keep the food cold longer. Do not open the refrigerator any
more than absolutely necessary.
- When the power comes back on, check the foods. If raw meats,
poultry, fish, milk and dairy products feel cool they should be
cooked within 24 hours. If they do not feel cool to the touch, the
safest thing to do is discard them.
- In a restaurant check the temperature of the potentially
hazardous foods. If the temperature of the foods has not risen
above 45 ° F, the foods are safe to eat within 4 days. If the
temperature of potentially hazardous foods has not risen above 55°
F, the foods are safe to use within 24 hours. If the temperature
has risen above 55° F, it is safest to discard the food.
WHEN IN DOUBT - THROW IT OUT
Clayton County Board of
Office of Environmental Health Services
685 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, GA 30297
Phone: (678) 610-7469 Fax: (770) 603-4874