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How a QUARTER and a cup of water is all you need to know if your food has spoiled after a hurricane-induced power outage

Science Oct 1, 2022 at 17:09

How a QUARTER and a cup of water is all you need to know if your food has spoiled after a hurricane-induced power outage

Hurricane Ian has cut a path of destruction across Florida – leaving at least 2.5 million without power
Floridians will soon be wondering if the food in their fridge is still safe to eat
The ‘quarter in a cup of frozen water’ trick can help to make that determination

Hurricane Ian has left a trail of destruction in its wake with over 2.5 million people in Florida having lost power.

The monster storm made landfall with ferocious 155 mph winds and drove an 18-foot storm surge inland that’s led to ‘tsunami-style flooding’ – killing hundreds and destroying thousands of buildings.

Many Floridians who return to their homes after evacuating will soon be wondering – is the food that’s in my refrigerator safe to eat?

All you have to do is fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer until it’s frozen solid.

Then, put a quarter on top of the cup and put it back into the freezer.

When you return to your home, there are three possible scenarios.

If the quarter is still on top of the cup, it means your electricity – and your refrigerator – did not go out for a significant time during the storm, so your food is likely safe to eat.

If the quarter has sunk to the bottom, it means the power was out for a significant amount of time and it’s probably safer to throw out everything in your fridge to prevent any possibility of illness from eating spoiled food.

If the quarter is somewhere in the middle of the cup, you may be fine to eat the food in your fridge – but its freshness is not guaranteed.

An entry in Snopes notes the following: ‘Because ice is less dense than water, the ice on which the coin is resting on will float on the water it creates as it is melting.

‘It is therefore possible that the cup of ice could melt partially — even substantially — before refreezing and still show the coin as being in the same position. To be sure, it could also fall off or move in a clearly detectable way, but it is not guaranteed.’

According to the Food and Drug Administration, during emergencies the temperature of your freezer should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit and your fridge temperature should not be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The FDA also advises putting containers of ice into your fridge to help items stay cold longer and to place some refrigerated items that you won’t use immediately in your freezer.

The quarter in a cup of frozen water trick has been around for years, but it tends to resurface online during natural disasters that cause widespread power outages.