When The Lights Go Out -- What To Throw Out?

Keeping Your Food Safe and Your Family Healthy During a Power Outage



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods, Inc.

    CHICAGO, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- With rolling blackouts roaring through
 California again, food spoilage can become a problem when refrigerators and
 freezers lose power.  Consumers can help avoid spoilage and foodborne illness
 in their homes by making sure foods stay properly refrigerated during power
 outages.
     A recent survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and
 the ConAgra Foundation reveals that Americans lack important knowledge on how
 to keep foods safe in the refrigerator.
     "The continuing blackouts on the West Coast are good motivation for
 Californians -- and everyone else -- to monitor their refrigerators," said San
 Francisco registered dietitian Jo Ann Hattner, an ADA home food safety expert.
 "It's a good idea to follow a few simple tips to help ensure food safety
 during power outages."
     Food Safety Tips to Remember During Power Outages:
 
     -- Make sure -- before an outage -- that the refrigerator is set below 40
        degrees Fahrenheit.  Place a refrigerator thermometer in the
        center of the middle shelf and check the temperature.  "After a
        blackout, check the refrigerator temperature," Hattner says.  "If it
        has risen to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, discard any potentially
        spoiled foods."  Such foods include meats, poultry, fish, dairy
        products, egg products, soft cheeses, cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked
        potatoes, cooked pasta, potato salads, custards and puddings.
 
     -- During a power outage, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed
        and open them only when necessary.  "If power is restored within four
        hours, items in the refrigerator should be safe to eat," Hattner says.
        A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for two days if the
        door remains closed.  A half-full freezer will stay at freezing
        temperatures for one day if the door remains closed.
 
     -- Stock up on non-perishable foods that don't require refrigeration, such
        as canned goods and bottled water and juices.  Choose single-serve
        sizes if available to avoid the need for refrigeration of unused
        portions.
 
     -- When power is restored, allow time for the refrigerator to reach below
        40 degrees Fahrenheit before restocking.
 
     -- "When it doubt," says Hattner, "throw it out."
 
     The American Dietetic Association and the ConAgra Foundation are partners
 in a nationwide program, Home Food Safety ... It's in Your Hands(TM).  The
 program educates consumers that home food safety is a serious issue and
 provides solutions so Americans can easily and safely handle food in their own
 kitchens.
     The program complements government-sponsored food safety initiatives that
 speak to the leading critical food-handling violations by emphasizing the
 following four key messages:
 
     1.) Wash hands often
     2.) Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate
     3.) Cook to proper temperatures
     4.) Refrigerate promptly below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
 
     For more information, visit www.homefoodsafety.org or call ADA's Consumer
 Nutrition Hot Line at 800-366-1655, where recorded messages in both English
 and Spanish are available 24 hours a day.
     The 70,000-member American Dietetic Association is the largest
 organization of food and nutrition professionals.  With headquarters in
 Chicago, ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and
 well-being.
     ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:   CAG) is one of the world's largest and most
 successful food companies.  ConAgra Foods is North America's largest
 foodservice manufacturer and second-largest retail food supplier.  This
 program is funded by the ConAgra Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ConAgra
 Foods, which works to improve the quality of life in communities across the
 U.S.
 
     CONTACT:  Lori Ferme of the American Dietetic Association, 800-877-1600,
 ext. 4802; or Kelly Ervin of Edelman Public Relations, 312-240-2664.
 
 

SOURCE American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods, Inc.
    CHICAGO, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- With rolling blackouts roaring through
 California again, food spoilage can become a problem when refrigerators and
 freezers lose power.  Consumers can help avoid spoilage and foodborne illness
 in their homes by making sure foods stay properly refrigerated during power
 outages.
     A recent survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and
 the ConAgra Foundation reveals that Americans lack important knowledge on how
 to keep foods safe in the refrigerator.
     "The continuing blackouts on the West Coast are good motivation for
 Californians -- and everyone else -- to monitor their refrigerators," said San
 Francisco registered dietitian Jo Ann Hattner, an ADA home food safety expert.
 "It's a good idea to follow a few simple tips to help ensure food safety
 during power outages."
     Food Safety Tips to Remember During Power Outages:
 
     -- Make sure -- before an outage -- that the refrigerator is set below 40
        degrees Fahrenheit.  Place a refrigerator thermometer in the
        center of the middle shelf and check the temperature.  "After a
        blackout, check the refrigerator temperature," Hattner says.  "If it
        has risen to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, discard any potentially
        spoiled foods."  Such foods include meats, poultry, fish, dairy
        products, egg products, soft cheeses, cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked
        potatoes, cooked pasta, potato salads, custards and puddings.
 
     -- During a power outage, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed
        and open them only when necessary.  "If power is restored within four
        hours, items in the refrigerator should be safe to eat," Hattner says.
        A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for two days if the
        door remains closed.  A half-full freezer will stay at freezing
        temperatures for one day if the door remains closed.
 
     -- Stock up on non-perishable foods that don't require refrigeration, such
        as canned goods and bottled water and juices.  Choose single-serve
        sizes if available to avoid the need for refrigeration of unused
        portions.
 
     -- When power is restored, allow time for the refrigerator to reach below
        40 degrees Fahrenheit before restocking.
 
     -- "When it doubt," says Hattner, "throw it out."
 
     The American Dietetic Association and the ConAgra Foundation are partners
 in a nationwide program, Home Food Safety ... It's in Your Hands(TM).  The
 program educates consumers that home food safety is a serious issue and
 provides solutions so Americans can easily and safely handle food in their own
 kitchens.
     The program complements government-sponsored food safety initiatives that
 speak to the leading critical food-handling violations by emphasizing the
 following four key messages:
 
     1.) Wash hands often
     2.) Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate
     3.) Cook to proper temperatures
     4.) Refrigerate promptly below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
 
     For more information, visit www.homefoodsafety.org or call ADA's Consumer
 Nutrition Hot Line at 800-366-1655, where recorded messages in both English
 and Spanish are available 24 hours a day.
     The 70,000-member American Dietetic Association is the largest
 organization of food and nutrition professionals.  With headquarters in
 Chicago, ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and
 well-being.
     ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:   CAG) is one of the world's largest and most
 successful food companies.  ConAgra Foods is North America's largest
 foodservice manufacturer and second-largest retail food supplier.  This
 program is funded by the ConAgra Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ConAgra
 Foods, which works to improve the quality of life in communities across the
 U.S.
 
     CONTACT:  Lori Ferme of the American Dietetic Association, 800-877-1600,
 ext. 4802; or Kelly Ervin of Edelman Public Relations, 312-240-2664.
 
 SOURCE  American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods, Inc.

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