If you’re living in the New Orleans metro area, you likely don’t have power right now.
Aside from wondering when the lights will come back on, your next thought might be figuring out what to do the food in your refrigerator or freezer.
Most of the outages are in the New Orleans metro area.
If the power is still out at your home, do not open your freezer or refrigerator if possible.
Fridges will typically keep food cold for about four hours if not opened, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A full freezer should maintain a safe temperature for about 48 hours if the door stays closed as well. If your freezer is half-full, it should maintain its temp for about 24 hours.
In the meantime, it’s a good idea to fill up an ice chest with ice and add perishable foods to enjoy until power is restored.
Once the power is back, though, it’s time to start clearing out what might be spoiled. If your refrigerator reads 40 degrees or lower and the freezer reads 0 when you re-open it, your food should be safe, and frozen food that still retains ice crystals should be safe.
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A general rule of thumb: Perishable food that is held at temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours may be unsafe to eat. That is because bacteria multiply quickly between 40 and 140 degrees.
Even foods that are deemed safe to eat should be thoroughly heated and cooked to minimum safe temperatures.
And, as always, when in doubt throw it out.
For more tips on preparing for a hurricane or power outage, head here.
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Ann Maloney contributed to this report.
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