FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE KATRINA 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
- 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 injury.
- Thawed food can
usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold."
- 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.
“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
- Hamburgers and ground poultry should
be cooked to 160 F.
- Poultry parts: 170 F.
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.
sanitized food and water bowls for your pets and be
sure that they do not drink from flood-contaminated
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
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