Food Safety Tips that Minimize Potential for Foodborne Illnesses during the Hurricane Season

Office of Disaster Management (ODM) is advising residents to review their hurricane emergency supply kit to make sure they have enough non-perishable food items to keep them going for up to a minimum of seven days.
Every household must have enough non-perishable food, water, and medicine to last each person in your family for a minimum of seven days. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long.
The objective is also to minimize the potential for foodborne illnesses in the event of power outages associated with the passing of a hurricane.
Hurricanes not only pose dangers to people’s physical safety, but also power outages can affect the safety of the food people may depend on after a hurricane has hit the island.

Steps to be taken before the arrival of a hurricane: Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An
appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
Make sure the freezer is at 0°F/-17C or below and the refrigerator is at 40°F/4.4C or below. Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.
Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately — this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer. Plan and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four (4) hours. Purchase or make ice and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler.
Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer. Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
Steps to follow after the hurricane has passed are: Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four (4) hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power.

Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below when checked with a food thermometer. Never taste a food to determine its safety!
When buying prepared food from restaurants after the passing of a storm or hurricane, ask critical questions about the food preparation and always use your senses: smell and taste; and if you suspect or doubt the quality of the food, throw it out!
The community is urged to learn more about hurricane hazards and resources you need on how to prepare your family, home, or business for a storm/hurricane strike by visiting the Government website: where you will be able to download your “Hurricane Season Readiness Guide’ and
“Hurricane Tracking Chart.” The information here is also valuable for new residents.