Tag Archives: food safety

Food Safety During and After a Storm

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Hurricane Dorian

When hurricanes such as Dorian have significant impact on a state or region, they present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. FSIS recommends consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.

Steps to follow in advance of losing power:

  • Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a hurricane. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
  • Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

Steps to follow if the power goes out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
  • Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
  • Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Food safety after a flood:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.

FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.

FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage.

If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.

From Other Blogs: Insulated Lunch Bags for Food Safety, Health Tips for Emergencies, Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Use an Insulated Lunch Bag to Keep Meals Safe

No matter your age, the end of summer is also a time of beginnings.  This means a new school year, new episodes of your favorite TV show and the start of football season.  Students, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts all have one thing in common:  packed lunches.  – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

 

Good as Gold Prep Your Health Tips for All Seasons

Some things just age well:  jeans, wine, flannel sheets, and The Golden Girls.  That’s right, a 1980s sitcom about four single, women living, loving, and laughing together in Miami.  It lasted just 180 episodes.  Since going off the air in 1992, however, the show has regained some of its luster.

– From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

 

Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

Did you know that breastfeeding can lower a mother’s risk for some cancers?  We are going to talk about the connection between breastfeeding and cancer prevention in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration the first week of August that recognizes global action to support women in their efforts to breastfeed. – From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

Food Recall Alert: Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns Due to Plastic Pieces Found in Products

Flowers Foods, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of hamburger and hot dog buns as well as other bakery products due to the potential presence of small pieces of hard plastic that may have been used in production.  Consumption of these products may pose as a choking hazard.  No injuries or illnesses have been reported yet.

The recall affects several grocery stores and private brands in South Carolina, including:  Publix, Piggy Wiggly, Ingles, IGA, Walmart, Target, and more.  Brands affected include:  Flowers, Great Value, Market Pantry, Natural Grain, Nature’s Own, Wonder Bread and more.

Consumers should discard affected products or return to the place of purchase for a full refund.  For the full list and UPC codes of the recalled products click HERE.

Please note that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is not involved with this recall as it not within our regulatory authority.  This information is provided for informational purposes only.

DHEC In the News: School Immunization Requirements, Serious Food Safety Violations, Routine Checkups

Here’s a look at health and environmental news around South Carolina.

DHEC reminds parents of 2019 SC school immunization requirements

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding parents about school immunization requirements headed into the 2019-2020 school year for kids in grades K-12.

 

What is a serious food safety violation?  Here’s how restaurant inspections work in SC

GREENVILLE, S.C. (GreenvilleOnline.com) Want to know a little more about how restaurants are inspected in South Carolina? Here’s a little guide.

 

How Often Should My Child Get A Routine Checkup?

(Moms.com)  Nothing is more important than a child’s health, but it can be tricky to know when to take them to the doctor. Some people take their children for routine check-ups on a regular basis, while others wait until their little ones come down with something.

From Other Blogs: Nutrition Tips for Men, Summer Camp Food Safety, Cancer Prevention for Older Adults

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Nutrition tips all men should know

For many men, nutrition is not a focus until much later in life. Because it’s best to start healthy habits as soon as possible, Lisa Money, registered dietitian nutritionist with Apex Athletic Performance, explains the importance of good nutrition throughout every stage of a man’s life.– From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

Keeping Hands Clean and Summer Camp Trip Foods Safe

Does your child’s summer camp itinerary include outdoorsy trips that require them to bring snacks? How will you fulfill their taste buds while keeping perishable snacks safe? How will you make sure kids will clean their hands before eating? These trips will probably be in hot, sunny weather, and that can come with food safety risks. Let’s keep calm and be food safe this summer! – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

The Value of Prevention Does Not End at 65

“Medical science deserves hearty congratulations for extending the lifespan of Americans to 80 years and beyond. This is truly an impressive feat, considering that most babies born in 1900 did not live past the age of 50.  I rejoice in my own longevity, as I’m sure you do. But I also wonder whether the same health care system that gave me these extra years is doing its best to help me make sure those years are healthy ones.  Frankly, I have my doubts.” Robyn Stone, DrPH

– From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog