Power Outages & Your Fridge

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.

Now that the snowstorms appear to be behind us, the most likely spring severe weather concern is flooding.

Whether it comes from a rainstorm or from melting snow, it can mean a loss of power.

And if you lose power, there are guidelines about whether refrigerated food and drink is still good.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture follows federal guidelines from the CDC for food temperature.

Their threshold is 38 degrees.

Marquette County Health Department environmental health division coordinator Pat Jacuzzo says 41 degrees might be a better guideline.

He says once the temperature of a food or drink item climbs above 41, it needs to be used within 6 hours.

FEMA recommends throwing out any food that comes in contact with contaminated flood water.

They also say you need to watch how long your food has been at room temperature.

Jacuzzo says your freezer should mostly hold up OK for extended periods, but for the fridge, those time rules are pretty much hard-and-fast.

Restaurants can follow an emergency action plan to stay open even without power.

The Health Department has free copies.

The guidelines are also on the Internet, and you can read them here.