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David BurtonCivic Communication SpecialistUniversity of Missouri Extension Phone: 417-881-8909 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Tammy Roberts, 660-679-4167
LAMAR, Mo. – When the power goes off, there is a simple rule of thumb for saving refrigerated food: The colder the foods, the longer they will keep, said a University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.
For foods in the freezer, the basic rule is if the food still has ice crystals inside it, it can be refrozen, said Tammy Roberts. She suggests taking a permanent marker or crayon and mark each package in the freezer with an “X” to indicate it was partially thawed. Any items that do not have ice crystals should be tossed.
What if you don’t know how thawed the food items were before the freezer came back on?
“If you notice blood on neighboring packages or in the bottom of the freezer, this is an indication of advanced thawing. At this point, since we are dealing with an unknown, the rule is, ‘If in doubt, throw it out,’” said Roberts.
Since your refrigerator should be about 40 degrees or below during normal operation, two hours without power will mean you need to do some tossing. Opening the doors will speed up the warming process.
Toss all of the following refrigerated foods if they have been kept more than two hours above 40 degrees:
-Raw or cooked meat, poultry or fish.
-Hard cooked or cracked eggs.
-Milk, cream, yogurt or soft cheese.
-Casseroles, stews or soups.
-Lunch meats and hot dogs.
-Creamy salad dressings.
-Custard, chiffon, cheese pies, cream-filled pastries or cookie dough.
Condiments in the refrigerator door like opened jars of mayonnaise, tartar sauce and horseradish need to be tossed if they were held above 50 degrees for more than eight hours.
The following refrigerated foods should keep at room temperature a few days:
-Butter and margarine.
-Fresh fruits and vegetables.
-Dried fruits and coconut.
-Opened jars of salad dressing (except mayonnaise types).
-Peanut butter, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard and ketchup.
-Hard and processed cheeses.
-Fresh herbs and spices.
-Bread, rolls, cakes and muffins.
Toss any of these items if they turn moldy or have an unusual odor, Roberts said.
For links to disaster-related resources from MU Extension, including publications, news, feature articles and videos, see http://bit.ly/MUExtDisasterResources.
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