McNuggets are not a 911 emergency

In yet another example of America’s slide toward Idiocracy, a Florida woman called 911 after paying for 10 Chicken McNuggets and told that no deep-fried chicken bits were available and would she like something else because all sales are final.

She called 911 three times.

"This is an emergency, If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one. This is an emergency."

Once police arrived, the woman told police,

"I called 911 because I couldn’t get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets.”

The police report states the woman,

"maintained the attitude ‘this is an emergency, my McNuggets are an emergency.’"

And why do these food-related 911 calls keep recurring in Florida?

Emergency plans for retail food establishments

Ever wonder what to do in an ice storm. A tornado? How about a flood? Living in the Midwest, we get everything.

Now imagine it’s not just you and your family. It’s a restaurant, a store, even a really big store.

The Conference for Food Protection (CFP) has released “practical guidance for retail grocery and food service establishments to plan and respond to emergencies that create the potential for an imminent health hazard.”  It includes a list of on-line resources.

It’s a great starting point.

Ice storm hits Manhattan: Keeping food safe 30 hours later

The novelty is wearing off.

As I noted yesterday, the Midwest U.S. was hit with an ice storm that started in Manhattan Monday evening. Our power went off Tuesday morning about 3 a.m. Sure, it was fun last night as we worked by candlelight until our batteries ran out, and had a friend and her dogs over for a sleepover by our gas fireplace (which keeps the primary rooms at a comfortable 62F), but awakening to darkness again was less fun.

Kansas State University is open and has full power this a.m., but a large chunk of central Manhattan is still without electricity.

USDA has a laundry list of food safety recommendations at

Here’s my experience, after 30 hours of no electricity.

The freezer (left) is of no use, with an internal temperature of 51F, but that’s largely because I moved the valuable foods to a cooler outside.

The fridge (right) is of some use, at 52F. Yoghurt, cheese, condiments, produce, they will be good for awhile yet.

The cooler outside is working well, with a temperature of 30F. The frozen items may suffer some deterioration in quality, but things like milk and raw (unfrozen) meat are doing fine. I could buy some ice and add it if I wanted to bring the temperature down further.

Here’s hoping we get some power soon.

Ice storm hits Manhattan — keeping food safe

The power starting going on and off about midnight. A tree branch went through a neighbor’s  car windshield at 3 a.m. The electricity has been out since 4 a.m.

And it’s going to get worse.

The freezing rain and ice storms throughout the Midwest hit Manhattan (Kansas, that is) hard last night. Tree branches loaded with ice are falling every five minutes. So after a leisurely morning spent decorating the Christmas tree and praising our gas fireplace, gas stove, gas water heater and gas barbecue, we couldn’t take it anymore and walked the dogs up to Kansas State University — which is closed, but does have electricity and Internet.

Before leaving I noticed the refrigerator contents were warming up. Same with the freezer. We’ve been eating our way through the perishables, and moved the high-risk foods to a cooler and placed it on the front porch, where it is 32F.

In anticipation of the storm, USDA sent an advisory yesterday, Keeping food safe during an emergency. I can’t really argue with most of the points, below.

And if the news is slow getting out on the listservs, you now know why.

Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency:

* Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.

* Make sure the freezer is at or below 0° F and the refrigerator is at or below 40° F.

* Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.

* Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately – this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

* Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.

* Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.

* Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.

* Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer.

Steps to follow after the weather emergency:

* Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

* The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.)

* Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below.

* When in Doubt, Throw it Out.