Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Water and Food Safety After Hurricanes

Can you drink the water and eat the food? Advice from the FDA.

During a Power Outage

Keep refrigerators and freezers closed to help them stay cold inside.

An unopened refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours. An unopened full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours, if it's half full).

Dry or block ice can help, if you stocked up before the power cut. Figure on 50 pounds of dry ice to keep an 18-cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.

If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish, or eggs while they're still at safe temperatures, cook them thoroughly.

Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.

For formula-fed infants, use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water, if possible. For concentrated or powdered formulas, use bottled water if the local water source might be contaminated.

After a Power Outage

If you kept an appliance thermometer in your freezer, check it. If it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.

No thermometer in the freezer? Check each package of food. Look for ice crystals - a sign that the food is still safe -- or items that are 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Don't just go by smell or appearance.

Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as the power is out for no more than four hours.

Discard any perishable foods (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.

1 | 2
Reviewed on August 20, 2007

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.