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DHHS Provides Recommendations on Food Safety After Power Outage
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9388

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Food Protection Section
Publish Date:
January 26, 2015

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is releasing the following food safety recommendations for retail establishments and residents who may lose power or be affected by flooding as a result of the impending blizzard.

For residential homes:
DHHS recommends taking the following steps during and after a loss of electrical power:

  • Never taste food to determine its safety
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature
  • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature approximately 48 hours (24 hours if its half full and the door remains closed)
  • Food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40ºF or below
  • Get block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an extended period of time
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

For retail establishments:
Retail establishments are reminded that they should cease operation and contact the Food Protection Section when they have experienced any of the following:

  • Disruption of water service or interruption of electrical service for longer than 2 hours,
  • Have a contaminated water supply or failed sewer system

The Food Protection Section will approve the resumption of operations when an imminent health hazard no longer exists or when the establishment has offered a plan to mitigate all threats to health and safety after a power outage.

Retail establishments with questions about safe food handling during a power outage should visit the DHHS website at http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/dphs/fp/documents/emergency.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol for a copy of the Emergency Action Plan for Retail Establishments. Consumers or establishments can reach the DPHS Food Protection Section at 603-271-4589 or after business hours at 271-5300; or by email at foodprotection@dhhs.state.nh.us.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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