TODAY   |  October 29, 2012

What food to save, throw out if you lose power

You’ve probably stocked up the refrigerator in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, but if you lose power, how long will your food last? Madelyn Fernstrom, TODAY’s diet and nutrition editor, talks about what foods you can save and what you should throw away.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> millions of people loaded up on supplies and food to prepare for sandy, but what happens if you lose power for an extended period of time? what should you eat first? madeline personstrom is today's diet and nutrition expert. good morning.

>> good morning, nat.

>> officials say be prepared you could lose power from seven to ten days, worst case scenario . what should we do? how many hours will food typically last?

>> a rule of thumb . four hours, 40 degrees. it means with an unopened refrigerator you have at least four hours until you hit the danger zone . if you have a thermometer in your refrigerator, economical, if you have one it's great because your food can last much longer. if it goes 40 degrees or higher that's when bacteria starts to grow and can contaminate your food and if you don't have one you have to be very cautious, and we'll talk about what to save and what to toss because when it comes to this, if in doubt, throw it out.

>> what do you save and what do you throw out? let's get started first. you've got some proteins, turkey, got some eggs here, some meat.

>> okay. deli meat , cooked, raw meat , eggs, tofu, any of this, you'll have to throw it out after four hours or so or if the temperature is above 40 degrees because you can have bacterial contamination. you can't use the smell or taste test . because it doesn't taste or smell i doesn't mn it's not full of bacteria that can make

you sick: toss all that stuff out.

>> there aren't degrees of spoiled.

>> no. you would like this-to-think it goes more slowly. above 40 degrees bacteria multiplies like crazy, and that's really the risk.

>> okay. what about cheeses and we'll get to dairy here in a second.

>> so with dairy products , the things that you can actually save are hard cheeses, butter or margarine or processed cheese is, kind of like the wrapped cheese.

>> pasteurized cheese as well.

>> this is going to be something that's good because you can save this, even if the temperature increases in your fridge, but what you need to toss, what you have to throw out is most of your dairy products , yogurt, cream, milk, soft cheeses, anything can you put a knife into. any of these things you'll have to toss or the softer shredded cheeses you'll just need to toss that.

>> what about produce, fruit juices , as we see here.

>> oh, you would think fruits and vegetables, i can really save everything, but that's not really true. when it comes to fruits and vegetables, anything that's whole and intact, whether it's an apple, pear, vegetable or even grapes, can you save all of those things. even juice. fruit juice you can save even when it's open, but vegetable juice you need to toss, so the things that you do need to toss are anything that has been cut up, cut up fruit or even the bagged salads that are set because there's a bigger surface area that a knife has interacted with. that makes it prone to bacterial growth . if it looks good what happens to produce, filled with bacteria.

>> salads can't last for a couple of days.

>> the salad in the bags, already pre-processed, you don't want to take a chance. again, if you had a food thermometer and it's under 40 degrees, can you keep it for many more hours, but if you're not sure chuck it.

>> let's move up to the front and things that you can save, some condiments here.

>> here's some good news. all the condiments, peanut butter , jelly, these things are going to be fine. keep all of these even at room temperature , but what you do want to toss is something mayonnaise, anything mayonnaise-based, creamy-based, you need to toss those.

>> what about over here.

>> don't call them leftovers for nothing. even though the food is coed, that won't kill the bacteria that will start to grow. more than four hours, beats yeah, leftover food, anything you have left in the fridge you'll have to toss.

>> madeline, thanks so much. have a pizza party now while