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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2003, 3 p.m.
CONTACT:Tanya Allen, Acting Emergency Manager, (816) 889-1426

Food safety guidelines for restaurants and grocery stores

The Health Department has dispatched inspectors to conduct on-site inspections at retail food establishments to those areas with power outages to ensure they are not operating without power and that potentially hazardous foods that are not kept at proper temperatures are discarded.

Keeping food at safe temperatures is critical to preventing foodborne illness. Potentially hazardous food that requires refrigeration must be maintained at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Please call the Kansas City Health Department at 513-6315 for more information.

Listed below are some guidelines for restaurants and grocery stores to follow that have experienced loss of electrical power:

If possible, move all perishable food products to a facility that has electrical power. Keep the food cold during transport by using a refrigerated vehicle, or by placing the food in a cooler with ice.

Limit the number of times of opening the refrigerator/freezer.

The potentially hazardous refrigerated foods (foods of animal origin, cooked pasta, cooked vegetables, cut melons and fruit) must be held at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If the temperature of the food exceeds 45 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours, the food must be destroyed.

Do not re-freeze frozen foods that have thawed. If the food is at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below when the power is restored, it may be used if cooked immediately.

Potentially hazardous foods that are not kept at the proper temperature may be subjected to rapid growth of bacteria that may cause foodborne illness. The person in charge of the food establishment must make the decision to destroy food based on food safety and without regard to economic concerns.

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