The Darien Department of Health is developing guidelines to minimize food waste in restaurants during power outages.
During power outages, like the kind caused by recent storms, restaurants can lose a substantial amount of food and money. It is especially dangerous if the restaurant plans to serve customers after power is back on. Customers will get sick if they are served food where bactera has spread, which usually happens at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Governor Malloy signed a bill on June 15 of this year that requires insurers, who normally reimburse restaurants for spoiled food, to do the same for food donated to shelters during an official state of emergency. The restaurant will be reimbursed only if the outage will cause the food to spoil before power is expected to return.
Darien’s Health Department must inspect food beforehand. Restaurant owners should wait for guidelines from the department on these practices before donating any food. The Board of Selectmen will also approve the guidelines in the future.
The Food and Drug Administration says that freezers should be at or below 0 °F, and refrigerators at or below 40 °F. This will keep foods such as meat, eggs, poultry and fish safe.
The Darien Health Department’s website provides link to many guidelines on food safety, such as a chart that indicates what foods are safe after a designated time above 40 °F, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Official suggestions for keeping food safe in restaurants are similar to those for private homes. This includes keeping refrigerator doors closed to keep cold air in, using dry ice in the freezer.
Food and water that comes into contact with floodwater should be discarded, even if it is bottled and waterproof. The same goes for wood and plastic cooking tools or utensils. Metal and ceramic dishes should be sanitized.
If a restaurant is flooded, it must be inspected by the Health Department before it can reopen.
More info: darienhealth.com