Food Safety If You Lost Power During Irene

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011  |  Updated 7:26 AM EDT
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Irene Hits Long Beach, L.I., Floods Streets

Patti Stillwaggon of Levittown is still without power, and food is rotting in her refrigerator and freezer after Irene.

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Suffolk County health inspectors are making sure food served in restaurants didn't spoil during power outages.

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Many are still experiencing power outages after the storm. LIPA says it could take until next week to restore power.
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The Suffolk County health commissioner has some food safety guidelines for people who lost power due to Tropical Storm Irene.

The commissioner says safe temperatures can be maintained for about four hours in a refrigerator, and at least 24 hours in a freezer. Keep the doors closed.

Thawed food is usually safe if it's still "refrigerator cold."

If the food still contains ice crystals, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

Throw away any perishable food that's been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.

If a food container touched flood water, it's best to get rid of it. The Health Department has instructions for disinfecting an undamaged commercial can.

And, by all means, if it looks or smells funny, throw it out.

In New York City, those who depend on food stamps can recoup some of their losses from Hurricane Irene.

The Food Bank For New York City announced Tuesday that recipients who lost their food items to flooding, extended power outages or equipment failure can reclaim the food stamp benefit value. They must file a request form within 10 days of the loss.

New Yorkers are also being urged to donate their unwanted non-perishable food items to their local food pantry.

For more information on the Hurricane Irene Food Stamp Replacement Notice, residents can call the Food Bank For New York City at 212-894-8060 or visit their website at

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