Even Food Needs Power Protection

March 17, 2017

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Normally, when we think about power protection in a business setting, the first thing we think of is our computers and network connections. These things are naturally vital to the operation of everyday businesses, but there's a point for businesses to consider that we generally only extend to our home lives: food safety. For businesses like restaurants, coffee shops, and even hotels and hospitals, food safety in a power outage becomes even more important.

First, some good news: there are some comparatively simple ways to protect food in a refrigerated environment. First, refrigerators themselves are sufficiently well-insulated to protect food safely for at least two hours. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that can be as long as four hours if the refrigerator itself is kept shut. Using a cooler filled with ice, dry ice, freeze packs, or even snow can augment this time considerably.

The use of a metal-stem meat thermometer can also be helpful here, and certain foods can be stored without refrigeration for longer times, particularly fruits and vegetables, but potentially even cheeses and some condiments. These should be checked prior to consumption for odor, texture and color, but never taste foods that may be off to determine their quality.

Power protection measures can also play a role here, as being able to deliver power to refrigeration units allows these problems to be eliminated right away. Though this can be expensive—the addition of generators to a business operation can be a five-figure operation, though that depends on the overall circumstances—it's also the kind of thing that might save just as much product from being rendered unusable in a power outage.

We recently saw as much with AXA, an insurance agency in New York that turned to generators two hours into a power outage in Syracuse.  Thanks to its generators, the company reported no appreciable delay in business operations or even damage. Not everyone can put generators to work, of course, but even the addition of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system can at least allow workers to save work and shut down systems properly.

No matter what method of power protection is used, being ready for an outage is a vital part of business operations that, sometimes, we don't even think about. That's a potential disaster for a business, and a great opportunity to make a few simple moves today that can save business tomorrow.

Edited by Alicia Young

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