Storm evacuations: How coin, frozen cup of water could keep you from getting sick

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Storm evacuations: How coin, frozen cup of water could keep you from getting sick

If you evacuate because of a storm, here is one thing that you can do to help ensure you and your family members don’t get sick after returning to your home.

You may have seen this post on your Facebook feed. It suggests to putting a quarter on a cup of frozen water in the freezer before you leave. When you return, you can see if the quarter stayed put or if it sank. The sinking will tell you that the water melted. If the water in the cup melted then refroze, the same can be said for the food in the freezer.

But can you believe all of the tips and hacks you see on Facebook and other social media?

In this case, experts said yes, but with a slight change. 

The Houston Chronicle reported that instead of a quarter, you’ll want to use a penny.

That’s because pennies contain copper and copper is a better conductor of heat, Don Mercer told the Chronicle. Mercer is an associate professor in Food Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Mercer said that food will stay frozen in a freezer for about 24 hours, as long as you don’t open the freezer door to check on what is inside.

The coin/cup trick helps when you’re away and are not sure if there’s been an extended power outage. Mercer said if the contents of the freezer thawed and then refroze, you’d have no way of knowing without the hack. If food thaws then refreezes, microorganisms that were there before the first freeze can multiply, posing a threat of food poisoning. 

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