Friday, October 12, 2012

Top 10 Food Safety Tips During Hurricane Sandy

In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, the East Coast is slightly panicky about the situation there. Most of the establishments and stores are closed and have been evacuated, streets starting to flood, construction sites are smashed through, Wallstreet has been shut and will resume trading tomorrow, and more than 7,000 flights are cancelled because of the mega-storm.

Food is one of the major concerns in times like this. According to, "We encourage residents in the projected path of the storm to include an appliance thermometer, coolers, and dry ice on their Hurricane Sandy preparation checklists," said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety. "As a last resort for food safety, when in doubt, throw it out."

The question is, did you make all the necessary preparations before the Sandy hit? Well if not here's some of the essential food safety tips you need to do and include in your checklist:

1. Stock up food, canned goods and instant foods in your shelves. Before a storm hits, make sure you've stocked up enough food in your shelves and fridge. Most of the stores and other establishments tend to close when a mega-storm like Sandy hits.

2. Keep your foods on the shelves and not on the ground. Make sure that you put your foods on the shelves or in the fridge. In case of flooding, your foods wouldn't be contaminated by dirty flood water.

3. Keep perishable foods cold. A fridge can hold up cold for your food for as long as 4 hours (as long as the door is closed) while a full freezer can hold up for 48 hours.

4. Use an ice box to store your food in case of power outage. In case you don't have a full freezer an ice box or any clean large containers that can seal cold with ice will keep your food cold.

5. Have a appliance thermometer. This is to ensure that you know how cold your appliances like your fridge or freezer is when there is a power outage.

6. Buy or make ice. This is to make sure that you have enough tools to make your food as cold as it can be until the power returns. Make sure that your ice box has its own ice.

7. Wash your hands before and after you touch food. This is to ensure we eliminate any possibilities of cross-contamination and prevent foodborne-illnesses to spread.

8. Before preparing food, make sure that all utensils and surroundings is clean. Make sure that everything is clean before using it when cutting or placing food. Kitchen counters, utensils, chopping board and others should be clean before placing any food in it.

9. Clean the food if necessary. Wash fruits and vegetables but don't wash meat, poultry and eggs says the FDA. This is to prevent the spread of foodborne viruses.

10. Cook the food properly. Make sure that you properly cook the food with the FDA's recommended temperature and minutes of cooking. You can also check the FDA website to know when to throw away your food.

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