During an extended power outage, such as the one caused by Tropical Storm Isaias, refrigerated and frozen foods may spoil. A great way to preserve your groceries that need to be kept cold or frozen is with dry ice.
Dry ice is very cold. -109 degrees F cold! It can help keep frozen foods frozen and refrigerated goods cold. Here are some guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agricutlure:
- Wear gloves when handling dry ice.
- Allow 2½ to 3 pounds of ice per cubic foot of freezer space. A 50-pound block of dry ice should keep food safe in a full 18-cubic-foot freezer for at least two days. More will be needed in upright freezers, and ice should be placed on each shelf. Your supplier may be able to cut blocks into slabs.
- If food from upright freezers can be tightly packed in coolers with dry ice, it may be easier to keep the food frozen for a longer period of time.
- If a freezer has a limited amount of food in it, pack the food compactly in coolers with dry ice.
- Fill a partly empty freezer with material like crumpled newspaper, clean bath towels or blankets to cut down on air circulation, which hastens dissipation of dry ice.
- Some suggest separating dry ice from direct contact with food packaging by placing boards or heavy cardboard between packages and ice. Ice may be wrapped in brown paper for longer storage.
- As dry ice dissipates, it becomes a gas. To avoid gas fumes, wait a few moments after opening the door of a chest freezer before bending over it. Stand back a bit when opening the door of an upright freezer.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also offers this power outage food safety infographic: