As hurricane season gives way to winter-storm season, it's a good idea to be prepared in case the electricity goes out. But a new study concluded that many older adults are in the dark about food safety after an extended outage.

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The study, published in the current issue of Educational Gerontology, found that 40 percent of adults 60 and older did not discard perishable items in the refrigerator or frozen foods that thawed after an outage of 24 hours or longer. More worrisome, as many as 36 percent said they tasted the food to determine its safety. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends discarding all refrigerated perishable food after an outage of at least four hours. The service also recommends throwing out most frozen foods that have thawed.

For more information on food safety and whether to keep or discard specific foods after an outage, go to