Food Safety Tips

Fridge thermometerIn the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

Remember, When in doubt, throw it out!”

You can practice safe food handling and prevent food-borne illness by following simple steps:

  • Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41 F or below. Eggs and other foods need to be stored in 41 F or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.
  • If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, use dry ice. 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a ten cubic foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Handle dry ice with care and wear dry heavy gloves to avoid injury.
  • A full cooler or freezer will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature.
  • Fight cross-contamination, which is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards or utensils. Never place any type of food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that food reaches a safe internal temperature.


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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

9 responses to “Food Safety Tips”

  1. Anonymous says :

    Oh my goodness Fairfax County you are outdoing yourself on the Emergency Preparedness. Our McLean household that lost DAYS at a time of stable temps in our refrigerator and freezer sadly learned all this the hard way…please keep up the good work FC EMP!

  2. Anonymous says :

    One other tip here–if you worry about food–please throw it out and also use BLEACH to clean your cutting boards if out of power for a long period of time…

  3. Anonymous says :

    so proud to work for such a great Phealth county 🙂