Food Expert Gives Advice on Keeping Food Safe During Cold Weather

By Trish Svoboda

The onset of recent cold weather and power outages brings many challenges, among them, concerns regarding food safety. According to Karen Blakeslee, a food scientist at Kansas State University, frozen canned or jarred foods can pose safety risks.

“If you have canned foods, either home canned or commercially canned, in a storage location that froze, first check for broken seals or seams in metal cans or broken glass in home canned foods due to expansion of the food and liquid inside the container,” Blakeslee said.

If all preservation containers remain intact, they are salvageable.

Blakeslee advises disposing of commercially canned foods with broken seams or homemade canned foods with shattered glass to prevent contamination. This guideline extends to home-canned foods that have become unsealed and thawed.

She also said if a glass jar becomes unsealed but remains frozen, it can be used immediately or put into a new container and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Blakeslee advises wrapping jars and cans in paper and covering them with blankets to prevent future food hazards during the cold. Propping cupboard and pantry doors open to allow warm air ventilation is also an option.

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