Learn From Hurricane Sandy – Food Safety

Looking back the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, anyone with a Television, Radio or Internet understands the importance of preparing for Natural Disasters.   What food products are safe after an natural disaster renders electricity moot?  Lets dive into this question by looking at the items run by readily available electricity in our homes.  Electricity runs our heating and air conditioning, our lighting throughout our home and most important…electricity runs our refrigerators. 

What happens when the electricity goes out and our fridges begin to warm?  What foods are safe, and when should we begin to take concern.  Here are a couple of Food Safety tips for power outages and electrical failures:

Nonperishable & Healthy Foods that withstand electrical failures:

1)  Dried Fruits, Jerky, canned tuna & other assorted canned meats, Canned soups, canned veggies, canned beans, crackers, whole grain cereals, Dehydrated Foods- Look for them at any Emergency Preparedness Store, Powdered milk, powdered cheese etc. 

2) Drinks that will survive lack-of-fridge include soda, water, beer (my favorite)- Beer will last 5-7 months without a cooling element; however the flavor will be influenced and may not taste as “fresh”. 

3) After 2 hours, food safety will begin to decline.   Foods such as eggs, fish, fresh meat, dairy products, and any leftovers will need a cooling alternative such as packing in snow (if you are lucky enough to be experiencing electrical failure during the snowy winter), or Packing in ice (although this is a temporary solution due to melting points).

4)  Because stoves will likely be incapacitated as well during an electrical failure, it is important to consider storing food items that can be cooked without a stove.  Mountain House, Wise Food, Backpackers Pantry are among many Freeze Dried products that will allow you to add water and reconstitute food without directly cooking.

Keep Calm and Carry On!