After the Flood
During a power outage:
- Never taste a food to determine its safety!
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Each time the door is opened, a significant amount of refrigeration is lost.
- The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
- Refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after four hours without power.
- Canned foods that came in contact with flood waters.
- All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane or cloth should be thrown out.
- Spices, seasonings, extracts, flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples in canisters.
- Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals such as mayonnaise and salad dressing. Also throw away preserves sealed with paraffin.
- Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
- When in doubt, throw it out!
Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.
For more information, please visit the Food Safety during Flooding and Power Outages section of the FDA's website.