August 24, 2015

Survival Guide: Food Service Power Outages in Restaurants

Written by SmartSense | Food Safety, HACCP

Restaurants are fast paced and hectic on a normal day, but add a power outage into the mix and it can cause a lot of problems. It can be a challenge to keep up with the practices of food safety while in the middle of a power outage due to the amount of equipment that relies on electricity. A good way to focus on keeping up with the food safety protocols is to focus on the one main goal: making sure the frozen and refrigerated food stays below 41 degrees. This means not putting any partially cooked food into the refrigerators during the outage.


That being said, it’s not allowed to process or handle any food during a power outage. To do this, you'll need to contact the local health department about an alternative power source and be able to prove there is the ability to wash hands under proper water temperatures, and have the correct lighting and enough power for needed equipment are necessary.


It’s important to be prepared for the outage at any time, so keeping a written plan with standards and procedures is a must. That way, there are no questions about what should be done. Keeping track of temperature in the freezers is another vital step. To prepare for this, having temperature monitoring helps out tremendously. It gives the ability to always know if temperature danger zones are being reached, and ensure that the right protocols are being met. SmartSense’s cellular temperature monitoring would come in handy for this, because it sends text and phone call alerts when power outages happen and when temperatures are rising quickly in freezers.


Other preparation for outages is to keep pre-frozen containers of ice in the freezers, that way the freezers and refrigerators have a longer longevity of maintained temperatures because of the ice. Having a knowledge of whether there are any block ice suppliers nearby that can be quickly contacted is also a best practice. It would be recommendable to have a couple of coolers on hand so that you can quickly fill it with ice and food; food that would otherwise be thrown away due to the rising temperatures. The coolers would provide the food with the necessary temperatures it needs to maintain in order to avoid the danger zone.


With proper preparation for power outages, it’s easy to keep composure and follow the right procedures to maintain a safe environment.

Topics: Food Safety HACCP

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