\

 

 

Outage Safety

Restaurant & Food Establishments

 

 

Power Outage at a Food Establishment

The time to plan for an emergency is before one happens. These guidelines can help retail food businesses know what to do before, during, and after a power outage so they can protect their customers from foodborne disease and minimize product losses.

The biggest food safety concern is the condition of potentially hazardous food such as meats, eggs, dairy products, cooked vegetables, and cut melons. Potentially hazardous foods are usually moist, non-acidic, perishable foods and must be kept at temperatures below 41°F or above 135°F for safety.

Before a Power Outage

N

Consider having an electrical generator available during a power outage. It will need to be big enough to operate the electrical equipment in your facility, and its installation and use must be coordinated with your power company for safety.

N

Investigate potential sources for a refrigerated truck to be used during a power outage.

N

Think about creating an “emergency menu” of foods that can be served with minimal preparation and without additional cooking.

N

Have a phone that plugs directly into a phone jack and does not require any additional power.

N

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers, including the number for your local health department.

When a Power Outage Occurs

Keep track of the time the outage begins.

Stop using gas or solid fuel cooking and heating equipment if the exhaust hood and make-up air systems stop working. Using this equipment without proper ventilation can lead to a dangerous build up of toxic fumes that may cause injury or death.

Throw away any foods that are in the process of being cooked but have not yet reached their final cooking temperature.

Note: A power outage of 2 hours or less is not considered hazardous to food that was being held under safe conditions when the outage began.

 

 

Actions that can keep food safe for several hours:

Cold Potentially Hazardous Foods
Hot Potentially Hazardous Foods

 

Stop preparing food if:

After Power is Restored

N

Decide to either keep or throw away potentially hazardous food, as shown in the tables below.

N

Investigate potential sources for a refrigerated truck to be used during a power outage.

N

If cold foods were grouped together to keep them cold, space them out again so they will cool more quickly.

What to do with Potentially Hazardous Food:

OK = Food may be sold, as long as it was 41ºF or less when the power went out. Immediately cool food to 41ºF or less.
X = Food may be unsafe and may not be sold.

OK = Food may be sold, as long as it was 135º or more when the power went out. Immediately reheat to at least 165ºF. After reheating, hold at 135ºF or more, or immediately cool to 41ºF or less.
X = Food may be unsafe and may not be sold.

Reopening after a power outage

If you voluntarily closed your facility, the following conditions should be verified before you resume food preparation and/or sale of potentially hazardous food:

Note: If your facility was closed by the local health department, it must remain closed until that agency gives you official approval to reopen.

Disposal of Food after a power outage