September 2017- Hurricanes are devastating natural disasters that can cause restaurants to lose lots of money from spoiled food that you have to discard. Maintaining food safety in your restaurant requires adequate preparation and a few tricks that can potentially save you thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Preparing For The Hurricane
Preparing for a storm with the right equipment can help minimize food spoilage, especially if you lose power. As we have seen recently with the destruction from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, these storms can be highly unpredictable and preparation is something to take very seriously.
In the event of a hurricane:
- Keep ice and dry ice in refrigerators to help keep food cool during inevitable power outages.
- According to the USDA, refrigerators must stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers must remain below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure to close freezer doors to trap cold air. Freezers can stay cold for up to 24 hours if they are full.
- Keep fresh meat, poultry, dairy and other items that need to stay cold in the freezer. Make sure to store meat separately from other foods to avoid cross contamination.
- Keep bottled water handy in case of damage to water-supply systems.
- If you live in a home, keep food in coolers on higher floors or shelves to prevent flood damage.
- Install a temperature monitoring system to keep track of food safety while you are away.
In Case Of Flooding
Despite preparations, flooding is unavoidable. Flood water is dangerous and can carry sewage, dangerous chemicals and diseases. The Huffington Post recommends the following tips during cleanup:
- Throw out all food that touches flooded water. Flood water carries all kinds of contaminants which could be harmful to humans.
- Make sure to throw out packaged foods that may have been in contact with flood water.
- Inspect packaged foods for leaks or tears in the packaging. If any flood water entered the package, you should throw it out. If there are micro-breaks in the plastic that you can't see, it's best to throw out any packaged foods that touched flood water.
The Importance of Temperature Monitoring Devices
In addition to these steps, you can also use a wireless temperature monitoring system that can help you keep track of the food in your refrigerator. Also, a refrigerator temperature monitoring system with special temperature monitoring software keeps track of the quality and temperature of food products while you are away. You can use this information through remote temperature monitoring to receive alerts about when to make necessary fixes before the unfortunate conditions can damage your food.
Food safety during a hurricane is of key importance, and it can be hard to find food in the direct aftermath of a flood. Keep your business or family safe with the proper measures to avoid food damage and loss.