RALEIGH — Residents should be careful not to use foods damaged or spoiled due to loss of electricity or flooding caused by Hurricane Earl, according to the N.C. Division of Environmental Health.
Residents are urged to use the following guidelines when assessing their food:
- If it is unopened, your refrigerator will keep foods safely cold for about four hours without power. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 36-to-48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full) if the door remains closed. If you have a refrigerator thermometer, you do not have to discard foods until they are about 41 F.
- Thawed foods can usually be eaten if they are 41 F or refrozen if they still contain ice crystals. Do not refreeze thoroughly thawed foods. Discard any food that has been at temperatures greater than 45 F for two hours or more.
- Wash and sanitize (using a teaspoon of household bleach to one gallon of water) cans of food that have been exposed to rain water. In general, floodwaters are considered contaminated and if canned goods have been submerged in floodwaters, they should be discarded.
- If fresh fruits and vegetables or food in plastic, cardboard or paper containers have been under floodwaters, do not eat them.
- If you must discard food, try to bury it at least 48 inches deep. If burial is not possible, place the food in a sealed plastic bag or container for disposal in your local landfill.
- Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
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