“The leading cause of power outages in Florida is natural disasters,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance provider. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA reports that thunderstorms and lightning are the most common natural hazards in Florida.
The U.S. Department of Energy along with the State of Florida created a State of Florida Energy Sector Risk Profile to assess the risks associated with power outages in Florida. They found August was the month with the greatest number of power outages across the state with the average outage lasting 65.5 hours.
So, what happens to your food when you lose electricity? The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports your refrigerator will keep food safe for 4 hours during a power outage.
Foodsafety.gov has the following recommendations:
- All meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers discard after 2 hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit without power. The same goes for opened baby formula, soft and shredded cheeses as well as milk, cream, sour cream and yogurt.
- After 2 hours above 40 degrees also toss fresh cut fruit, shredded coconut, egg products and custards or puddings.
- If above 50 degrees for more than 8 hours pitch mayonnaise and cream-based dressings, opened spaghetti sauce, refrigerator biscuits, rolls and cookie dough, pasta salads, pasta, and packaged, cooked or cut vegetables.
- Toss any food that has an unusual color, odor or texture or feels warm to the touch.
- Frozen food in your freezer completely or partially thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer door closed as much as possible. A closed refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours.
- A full freezer will stay cold for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half-full.
- Never taste food to determine its safety!