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Is it safe to keep food outside in freezing temperatures?

VERIFY: Can you safely keep your food outside if the weather is freezing?

Energy outages in freezing climate have left some contemplating the outside a safer place for his or her perishables than their freezers. However that could be improper.

A lot of the nation has been hit by a blast of freezing air and a winter storm shifting throughout the nation on the similar time. This contains giant components of the south, which hardly ever see icy and snowy climate. The winter storms have left many with out energy and with no expertise on the best way to greatest cope with such energy outages within the winter.

 

THE QUESTION

Can I safely preserve my meals exterior if the facility is out and the climate is freezing?

 

THE ANSWER

There are many dangers concerned with doing so and consultants usually counsel towards it, so it ought to solely be used as a final doable resort and with routine temperature checks. And you’ve got extra choices than chances are you’ll initially suppose earlier than counting on that final doable resort.

 

WHY WE ARE VERIFYING

Massive components of the inhabitants are struggling by way of energy outages whereas coping with freezing climate. Some have talked about on social media they’re contemplating taking their meals exterior to maintain it from going dangerous.

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WHAT WE FOUND

What is the maximum number of hours that food can be held in the food danger zone? it is a matter of debate.

First, it is best to understand how a lot time your meals has within the fridge and freezer earlier than it goes dangerous. The U.S. authorities’s meals security web site says a fridge will preserve meals chilly for 4 hours if the door is stored closed and a full freezer will preserve meals chilly for 48 hours and a half-full freezer will preserve meals chilly 24 hours so long as the door is stored closed.

The meals security web site says the hazard zone for chilled meals is between 40°F and 140°F. Even when frozen meals has begun to thaw, it may be safely refrozen if it stays under 40°F or nonetheless has ice crystals on it.

Nevertheless, the web site really suggests you keep away from storing meals outside. Variations in temperature, even variations attributable to the passing of daylight over one thing, dangers bringing the meals into the hazard zone. There are additionally dangers posed by unsanitary circumstances and animals which will attempt to get into your meals.

What it suggests as a substitute is that you just use your fridge and freezer like an old style icebox. You possibly can accomplish that by actually taking chunks of ice — that half shouldn’t be too onerous because of the frozen climate — and placing the ice in your freezer, fridge and even in coolers to assist preserve meals chilled.

Utilizing a cooler might theoretically make storing meals exterior safer, too. A North Dakota State College article on winter storm data tells readers that it’s not really helpful you retailer your meals exterior on this situation. Nevertheless, you might be able to get away with storing the meals in coolers in an unheated storage or different place the place meals gained’t be disturbed so long as you routinely monitor the temperature and state of the meals.

However you’re greatest off following the USDA’s recommendation and utilizing your fridge and freezer like iceboxes. They are saying it is best to put your meat and poultry to at least one aspect of the freezer or on a tray to forestall thawing juices from contaminating different meals objects.

As soon as your energy returns, it is best to examine your meals and decide if it’s secure to maintain. If any perishable meals has been above 40°F for 2 hours or extra, it is best to toss it. You must also discard any meals uncovered to juices from thawing meat.

And bear in mind, if unsure, it is best to throw it out.

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