The Botetourt View has been asked several times today about the length of time food can be eaten without cooling taking place. The ice situation is pretty slim as most of the stores in Botetourt County are reporting they are sold out. Fortunately, Bobby Parker at the Virginia Department of Health is on top of his game and sent this list. Read it carefully. Food poisoning is no fun!
Health Department Provides Tips for Food Safety Following Storms
(Christiansburg, Va.) — In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Just remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
People can practice safe food handling and prevent food-borne illness by following simple steps:
Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41 F or below.
A full cooler or freezer will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature. If available, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. Use care when handling dry ice and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.”
Eggs and other foods need to be stored in 41 F or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.
Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected.
For additional food safety information, call the toll-free USDA/FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854. Food safety specialists (both English and Spanish speaking) are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays year-round.
The Virginia Department of Health website also contains information on pre-storm planning, post-storm recovery and the prevention of heat-related illnesses. Please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov. Click “Hurricane Season 2012” for information on extreme heat, food safety, drinking water safety, post-storm cleanup and prevention of illnesses and injuries. Or click “Extreme Heat” for information on staying cool and hydrated, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, special considerations for certain groups and shelter information.
–Robert Parker, VHD Christiansburg Office
OTHER STORM COVERAGE:
* Regional storm coverage from The Roanoke Times
* Weather journalist Kevin Myatt has weather updates on the Weather Journal
* Gov. Bob McDonnell declares state of emergency
* More photos of storm damage around Botetourt County
* Botetourt EMS statement, warning about new storms, photos of storm damage
* Fincastle Baptist Church open as a shelter
* Lord Botetourt High School open as a shelter
* Carrie Nolan shares photo of downed tree in Blue Ridge
* Photos and first-person account of storm damage at Buchanan Carnival
* Both Botetourt American Legion baseball games scheduled for Saturday night are postponed due to weather
You can share your storm photos at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the “share” tool to upload 10 at a time. If you have a first-person account, you can leave it as a comment below.