Steritech’s free Public Health Information Brief gives you pointers and answers your frequently asked questions regarding how to keep food and facilities safe during a power outage.
Download Steritech - Power Outage Recovery
Power failures can be critical situations at sites where the environment and public safety are at risk, such as hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, etc. The interruption of electrical service is an imminent health hazard in any foodservice establishment, particularly because it can hamper a facility’s ability to refrigerate and cook foods, as well as sanitize properly.
A clearly outlined communications plan will keep you and your team functioning as a unit during a power outage. Ensure that you have a contingency plan in place for deciding when to close or offer alternate operations (e.g., limited menu or changed shift schedule) and that all employees know their roles. Emergency numbers and contact lists should be available for employees and should include:
Emergency preparedness supplies are a good idea to have on hand at all times.
One of the biggest dangers in a power outage is how it affects food. Temperature abused foods can grow harmful bacteria and spoil, putting people at risk for foodborne illness. Appropriate responses must take place to maintain food safety. Many Time and Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods may need to be destroyed if they go out of temperature range.
A closed refrigerator will keep food below 41°F for only a few hours after a power loss. Discard any TCS foods (meats; vacuum packaged meats and products, including those reduced oxygen packaged foods for sous vide and cook-chill; poultry; fish; eggs; cheese; dairy-containing products; cut tomatoes; cut melons; sprouts; etc.) that have been above 41°F for two or more hours. A closed freezer can keep food below 41°F for up to 48 hours if it is full and unopened. Discard any frozen product that has thawed and been above 41°F for two or more hours. If the time about 41°F is unknown, discard temperature abused TCS foods.
While the following tips can help you recover from a power outage, they are not a replacement for a tested crisis management plan.
In addition to food storage, power outages can create other risks. Pre-planning can help an establishment be prepared to handle these additional dangers.
You may find additional helpful information regarding power outage preparation and recovery on the below government website:
FoodSafety.gov Emergency Preparedness Website
Steritech can assist you with crisis management planning or power outage recovery, as well as any questions you may have about food safety following a storm. Steritech’s Customer Care Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800.868.0089 to assist you with any of your needs.