Buying or preparing food for Hurricane Michael? 5 tips you should know.

Hurricane Michael, now a Category 4 storm, could bring such high, damaging winds to Beaufort County that trees and power lines are downed.

Not only that, but any rising water that gets into your home could contaminate your food.

Without power, the food you have stocked in your fridge could become worthless. That’s why it’s important to stock up on nonperishable items or to follow these tips when it comes to saving your food:

1. Power out for less than 4 hours? You’re good.

Even if you do lose power, as long as you keep the refrigerator door closed and the lights come back on within four hours, your food is safe.

But it’s essential you keep that door closed.

Any warm air you let in could contaminate food such as poultry, milk, eggs, seafood and other refrigerated foods.

2. Grab that ice.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also recommends buying bags or blocks of ice, if possible.

If you know your power could be out for days, the best way to save your food could be packing it in ice.

In Beaufort County, there are a list of companies that sell dry ice that could help you preserve your food.

3. Double-check your list of nonperishable food

Sadly there’s only so much you can do when it comes to saving refrigerated foods, and that’s where canned goods and other nonperishable items come in handy.

Here are the key items to remember:

  • Bottled water
  • Canned food (soup, vegetables, fruit, beans)
  • Crackers
  • Granola/breakfast bars
  • Oatmeal and cereal
  • Bread
  • Trail mix and nuts
  • Apple sauce and fruit cups

4. Store your food up high and keep it contained

Rising waters can contain a number of harmful bacteria and diseases, so food touched by this water should be thrown away immediately, according to the FDA.

Make sure your food is either stored up high or in waterproof containers to make sure floodwater doesn’t contaminate it.

5. Always, always check the temperature

Even if you followed all the tips above, it’s still better to be extra cautious and check the temperature of any food you cook, especially meat.

You don’t know how a power outage could have affected the temperature of the food in your fridge.

Always double-check.