(Photo: Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Once power is restored:

  1. When in doubt, throw it out!
  2. Check the temperature of the thermometer once the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  3. If a thermometer was not kept in the freezer, check each package of food. Do not rely on the food’s appearance or odor. If the food in the freezer contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  4. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food that has been at temperatures above 40 °F for more than 2 hours.


  1. Because flooding may compromise the water supply, your water distributor (city/county) may issue a Boil Water Advisory. Follow the advisory’s directions and/or use bottled water for drinking and things like brushing your teeth. If you are unsure how your water supply is being affected, use bottled water.
  2. Do not eat food that has come into contact with flood water; discard any food or beverage that is not in a waterproof container, if there is any chance it came into contact with flood water:
    1. Waterproof food containers include undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and “retort pouches” (flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches).
    2. Food containers that are NOT waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped cans.
    3. Discard of food or beverages in cardboard boxes as well as home canned foods if they have come into contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  3. Discard any damaged cans, include those with swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
  4. Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, utensils and countertops/food prep surfaces with soap and hot water. Rinse and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water. Let air dry.

Information provided by the Georgia Department of Agriculture 

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