WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- If you lost power during Hurricane Sandy, don't taste the food to see if it's OK. Instead, follow this advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
•Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. That will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours, or 24 hours if it is half full and the door stays closed.
•If you can, get block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
•If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.
Another Option If You Can't Find A Generator
•If you don't have a thermometer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still has ice crystals, it's safe.
•Throw away refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
A Possible Fight With Your Home Insurer
•Finally, when in doubt, throw it out!
For details, see advice from the USDA on food safety during an emergency. And see our Hurricane Sandy Survival Tips, including our advice on generators.
Information provided by Consumer Reports