Refrigerated Foods After a Disaster

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  • Most chopped meats, poultry and seafood sandwich fillings should not be left without refrigeration for more that four (4) hours. If you have to leave your home without an ice chest containing ice, take cold ingredients for any salads and toss (mix) them. When you arrive at the shelter where you will stay during the emergency, eat them immediately! If there is any salad left, throw it away.
  • You can extend your food supply by cooking all unspoiled meat immediately. Cooked meat needs to be kept above 140 degrees (F) if it cannot be cooled below 45 degrees (F) within two hours. Large, solid, unboned pieces of fresh beef or lamb such as rump roast or leg of lamb are least susceptible to quick spoilage.
  • Uncured sausage is vulnerable to contamination because it is free of preservatives. Keep frozen until you must leave, and then cook it before it is completely thawed.
  • Raw chopped meats, like hamburger spoil quickly. Pork, fish, and poultry spoil quickly. Dispose of them if they have been in the refrigerator without power for 12 hours or more. Do not trust your sense of smell!
  • Hard cheese usually keeps well at room temperatures. Other cheeses, such as cream cheese, opened containers of cheese spreads and cottage cheese, spoil quickly. Throw out when off-flavor develops. If surface mold develops on blocks of cheese, slice one inch below the surface and discard.
  • Milk spoils quickly without refrigeration. Throw out spoiled milk. Sour milk may be used in baking.
  • Custards, gravies, creamed foods, poultry and seafood sandwich fillings spoil quickly when unrefrigerated, and provide ideal growing places for organisms causing food borne illness. Dispose of these foods if they have warmed to room temperatures. Spoilage is difficult to detect since there may be no offensive odor or taste.
  • Commercially made baked goods with cream fillings are not safe to take when evacuating unless you have a cold place to keep them. It is best to leave cream pies and all foods containing high protein and moisture at home unless you store them in a cooler with ice.

This information taken from a pamphlet prepared by:

The Collier County Cooperative Extension Service
14700 Immokalee Road
Naples, FL 33964
239 353 4244