Power Out? Save Your Food While Enjoying Takeout

Last night's storm knocked out power in some sections of the Valley -- and with more thunderstorms expected this weekend, some of you could be facing a few nights of candles and takeout. Oh, darn. We hate being without electricity, but really there's no better excuse to try that new restaurant you've been dying to check out.

In the meantime, you'll have to address the fridge now sitting idle in your kitchen. Here are a few tips from the Arizona Department of Health Services on what to do with your groceries before they spoil:  

  • Divide your frozen foods among friends' freezers if they have electricity or find a commercial space/church/school with a freezer.
  • Fill a cooler with ice and place items inside cooler. Be sure to not open the cooler unless absolutely necessary.
  • Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than 4 hours. 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. (Exercise care when handling dry ice, because it freezes everything it touches. Wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.)

If you've had a flood:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. Discard any food without a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
  • Undamaged, commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the can labels, thoroughly wash the cans, and then disinfect them with a solution consisting of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
  • Re-label your cans, including expiration date, with a marker. Food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come into contact with flood water because they cannot be disinfected. For infants, use only pre-prepared canned baby formula that requires no added water, rather than powdered formulas prepared with treated water.

For more info, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services' web site at

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