Preparing For Severe Weather

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring heavy rains and high winds to coastal areas in the coming days. It’s always difficult to anticipate the impact of severe and inclement weather, but we wanted to share with you some food safety tips in the event of a power outage or flooding.
If you purchased a refrigerator or freezer from Passanante’s Home Food Service and experience food loss as a result of these storms, please notify our team using the contact information provided below and we will work with you to replace those items.
Please stay safe and remember, two feet of water can sweep away most cars and as little as 6 inches of moving water and sweep you off your feet. Turn around, don’t drown.

Severe Weather Food Safety Tips

  1. Stock your home with water and non-perishable foods.
  2. Move canned goods and other foods to higher areas.
  3. If you lose power, unplug all major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is turned back on.
  4. If possible, raise refrigerators and freezers off the floor using cement blocks.
  5. In the event of a power outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
    • The refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours. If the power is out longer than 4 hours, consider transferring refrigerated items into a cooler with ice and/or gel packs.
  6. Frozen foods that are still safe to eat following a power outage include:
    • Frozen foods that have thawed, but still contain ice crystals
    • Foods that have remained at refrigerator temperatures – cool to the touch (40 F or below) may be safely refrozen; however quality may suffer from extended periods
    • In our commercially rated freezers, food can be preserved below 40 degrees for up to 3-4 days and longer with external ice methods. If your freezer has room, load it with water to freeze using baggies, plastic bottles, plastic jugs etc.
    • A standard full freezer will hold relatively consistent temperatures for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if only half full). If necessary, 50lbs of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot freezer for 2 days. Do not touch dry ice with bare hands or place in direct contact with food.
    • Foods that don’t actually need to be frozen. These foods may be consumed unless they turn moldy or have an unusual odor (i.e. dried fruits, baked goods, hard processed cheeses, butter or margarine, fruit juices, and nuts)
  7. Discard the following food items if your refrigerator has been without power for more than 4 hours:
    • Raw, cooked, or leftover meat, poultry, fish, eggs and egg substitutes
    • Lunch meat and hot dogs
    • Casseroles, soups, stews, and pizza
    • Mixed salads including chicken, tuna, macaroni, and potato salad
    • Gravy and stuffing
    • Milk, cream. yogurt, sour cream and soft cheeses
    • Cut fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked vegetables, as well as opened fruit and vegetable juices
    • Cream-based salad dressings
    • Batter and dough (i.e. pancake batter and cookie dough)
    • Custard, chiffon or cheese pies
    • Cream-filled pastries
    • Garlic stored in oil
    • Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, and horseradish if they were above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for over 8 hours
    • Any food with an unusual odor, color or texture should be discarded
  8. Never taste food to determine its safety. When in doubt, throw it out.
  9. Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
  10. Used bottled drinking water that has not come into contact with flood water.

Additional Resources

Passanante’s Customer Service
Phone: 1-800-772-7786 ext. 230