FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 12, 2005
Contact: Lindsay Hodges (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE DENNIS INFORMATION SHEET**
Department of Health Issues Precautions for Food Safety
TALLAHASSEE – In
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. Just remember – When in
doubt, throw it out!
People 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 degrees or below.
- A full cooler
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.
If available, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a
ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care
when handling dry ice and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid
- Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still
- Eggs and other foods need to be
stored in 41 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or slightly below. Do
not eat foods that may have spoiled.
- Always wash your
hands with soap and water that has been boiled or
disinfected and cooled. Hands should be washed before
preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom or
changing a diaper, after handling uncooked food, after
playing with a pet, after handling garbage, after tending to
someone who is sick or injured, after blowing your nose,
coughing or sneezing, after participating in flood cleanup
activities, and after handling articles contaminated with
flood water or sewage.
- 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
- When grilling foods, preheat the coals on your
grill for 20-30 minutes or until the coals are lightly
coated with ash.
- Use a meat thermometer to insure that
food reaches a safe internal temperature.
- Hamburgers and
ground poultry should be cooked to 160 F.
- Poultry parts:
- Roasts, steaks and other large cuts of beef: 145 F.
(rare) and 160 F (medium).
- Fish should be cooked until the
meat is opaque and flakes easily.
- Use sanitized food and
water bowls for your pets and be sure that they do not drink
from flood-contaminated surfaces.
For additional food safety information, call the
toll-free USDA/FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at
1-888-674-6854. Food safety specialists (both English and
Spanish speaking) are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT
on weekdays year-round.
For further information, please contact your local county
health department or visit
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557
Public Information Emergency Support Function: 850-921-0384