Fact Sheet Table of Contents

Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Code Sec. 750.120

Safety of Cold or Frozen Foods During a Power Outage

In the event of a power outage keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. This helps slow the thawing/warming process while the unit(s) are off. Frozen food may stay frozen for at least a day if the door stays closed. Potentially hazardous foods can become dangerous quickly if left at improper temperatures. These foods should be disposed of if they have been above 41° F for more than 4 hours.

  • Food with offensive odors should be destroyed. Seafood may be unsafe, even if it doesn't smell bad.
  • If food is expected to become too warm (41° F or above) some or all of the food could be cooked and held at 140° F until power is restored.
  • Remember; if in doubt thrown out!

Water Interruptions at Food Facilities

Food facilities without water need to contact a repair company to correct the problem. If a food facility is without water for an extended amount of time, a supply of potable water (water truck or bottled water) must be obtained in accordance with the State or Federal potable water standards, otherwise the facility must cease operations.

For facilities that lose hot water due to equipment failure may continue to operate as long as they take the appropriate steps to ensure the food safety will not be compromised. These steps include but are not limited to the following:

  1. A three-compartment sink must be available to clean and sanitize all utensils. Dishwashing machines depend on a continuous supply of hot water to operate properly. They should not be used in the absence of hot water.
  2. The facility should minimize the number of utensils and dishes they need to wash. Disposable products should be used until a continuous supply of hot water is restored.

Sewer Back Ups

If a food facilities sewer drainage system fails to carry away the water-carried sewage it generates resulting in the depositing of sewage on the floor of the facility, the facility must:

  1. Cease operations immediately.
  2. Contact a repair company to correct the problem.

Safe Food Handling After a Fire

In the event of a fire at a facility follow these steps to ensure food safety.

  1. Discard any damaged food, either by fire, smoke or the fire suppression system.
  2. Discard any damaged single service items, either by fire, smoke or the fire suppression system.
  3. Clean and sanitize all food contact and non-food contact surfaces that the fire suppression system may have contaminated.
  4. Air out the facility if heavy smoke was present by opening the doors and using fans.
  5. Replace any equipment that was damaged by the fire, smoke or the fire suppression system.