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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Safe Meals > Preparing Preparing Food Without Power

Preparing Safe Meals

Preparing Food Without Power

By J. Clezem, W. Daniels Burgess, and A. Mason

Reviewed 2013

During an emergency, cooking and eating habits change to fit the situation. You may not have a refrigerator or a stove, and your water supply may be limited. In addition, health risks from contaminated or spoiled food may increase. When preparing food, consider the following:

Cooking time and safe cooking temperature needed for a particular food. For example, ground beef needs to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for doneness. If there is limited fuel for cooking, choose food which cooks quickly, or serve no-cook food.

Amount of food to prepare. Prepare only the amount of food you need for one meal. When left at room temperature for more than two hours, milk, cooked meat, soups, pasta, and vegetables provide excellent conditions for growth of disease causing organisms.

Cooking methods available. These include:

No-Cook Food Suggestions

You can also prepare peanut butter sandwiches, crackers with canned meats and fish, chips, fresh fruit in the peel and unopened cans of fruit or pudding. Discard extra canned food that has been opened. Also, discard leftovers, or place in a cooler with ice for no more than 24 hours.

Cleaning and Food Safety

Handwashing. Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, changing diapers or touching pets. If running water is not available use bottled water and soap to wash hands.

Surfaces and Utensils. Wash cutting boards, dishes, knives, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you prepare the next food item.

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