Tag Archives: food safety

When the Power Goes Out

With power outages happening throughout Northwest Oregon, people may be tempted to store their dairy products outside to keep them cold and fresh. Please don’t! When perishable dairy items (like milk, yogurt and ice cream) are left outside, they can become unsafe to eat.

Please follow these tips to store and enjoy your dairy products safely:

If in doubt, throw it out. If a dairy product has been unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours, it can become contaminated by harmful bacteria. Be safe and throw it out.

Do not store your food outside, even if it’s freezing. The USDA says that outside temperatures are inconsistent, causing chilled food to enter the “danger zone” of warmer than 40°F, allowing harmful bacteria to grow.

Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

Eat shelf-stable pantry goods. Shelf-stable milk comes in special containers and does not need to be refrigerated before consumption. You can also use powdered milk as an alternative. Please use safe, potable water when mixing and drinking.

Once power returns, check the temperature inside your refrigerator and freezer. With the exception of some hard cheeses, when a dairy product has been left in the unit above 40°F for two hours or more, toss it. Also, keep in mind that it will take several hours for your refrigerator or freezer to create a safe temperature for storing food. To keep the cooling process active, fill it with cool, not warm or hot, food.

Here are more resources on keeping your dairy foods safe:

Oregon Department of Agriculture / Temperature Requirements for Foods

FoodSafety.gov / Winter Weather Food Safety

USDA / Refrigeration and Food Safety

Oregon State University Extension Service / Food Safety Resources

Dairy Farms Come in All Shapes and Sizes

There are 228 family dairy farms in Oregon, and no two are exactly alike. Regardless of the farm size, location and history, there are certain values and standards that every Oregon dairy farmer has in common:

  • Dairy farmers’ commitment to providing high quality milk begins with taking good care of their cows. On farms of all sizes, farmers care for their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Animal comfort is key to a farmer’s livelihood.
  • Environmental stewardship is important to all farmers, no matter how many cows they milk. Farmers care for their land and their natural resources. They usually live on the land where they farm.
  • It’s important to dairy farmers that they be good neighbors and members of the community.
  • Farmers and the industry are innovating and working toward a sustainable future. They are increasingly working smarter with automation, methane digesters, recycling, precision agriculture and solar panels to increase efficiency and reduce impacts.
  • Food safety starts at the farm. Milk is one of the most tested and regulated food products, and farmers employ rigorous standards, practices and procedures to ensure that it is kept pure, cold and safe.
  • Dairy farmers take great pride in their work, and they want the next generation to work on the same land so they can continue providing the nutritious food that we enjoy and depend on. It is their legacy.

There’s a common misperception that larger farms are somehow not as good for the animals or environment. However, the large scale farms allow optimal use of scarce resources such as water, energy and land. Large farms also face the same kinds of regulations and oversight as smaller farms. If you have questions about dairy farming, use our contact form and let us know.