In preparation for Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to hit the Atlantic coast of Florida on Thursday and Friday, as well as other parts of the east coast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued comprehensive food safety recommendations.
The main causes for concern in terms of food safety are power outages and flooding, which can “compromise the safety of stored food,” according to the release.
Before losing power, it is recommended to keep appliance thermometers in both the freezer and refrigerator “to make sure that temperatures remain food-safe during a power outage.” The USDA recommends keeping a few days’ supply of ready-to-eat foods on hand.
If the power goes out, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible, and use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator cold during extended power outages.
After the power comes back, check the internal temperature of the refrigerator and freezer and discard perishable food that has been kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than two hours.
The full list of recommendations can be found here.