Food safety during an emergency
For retail businesses
With the possibility that electric power may continue to be interrupted in winter storm impacted areas, the Food Safety Program has created the following resources:
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA guidance:
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
- If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to:
4 hours in a refrigerator.
48 hours in a full freezer; 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
- If the power has been out for 4 hours, and a cooler and ice are available, put refrigerated perishable foods in the cooler. To keep them at 40°F or below, add ice or a cold source like frozen gel packs.
- Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture.
- Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out.
Small farms and livestock operators
Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for technical assistance, which could include restoring habitat and trees destroyed by the storm. Some SWCDs may also have emergency assistance for things such as fencing, manure storage, and more.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Press Release: February 17, 2021
USDA Ready to Assist Farmers, Ranchers and Communities Affected by Winter Storms
Resources are below for farmers, orchardists, and ranchers who have suffered losses and damage due to the winter storms.
USDA Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance Programs