/Can a food establishment still operate during an electrical power outage?

Continuous operation during an electrical power outage depends on the situation. If the interruption of electrical power service is for a short time (as estimated by NV Energy) and the person-in-charge closely monitors food, equipment, and water temperatures to assure all are being maintained at an acceptable temperature (see criteria below) and there is adequate lighting, the SNHD may approve operating during an outage that does not exceed two hours. It is important that food establishments notify the SNHD immediately to assist in making the safe decision. If a food establishment does not notify the SNHD and operates without electrical power, then the food establishment is likely to be issued a cease and desist order. Also, a food establishment may be assessed fees and be required to pass an inspection with 10 demerits or less and no repeat critical- or major violations from the last recorded inspection, before re-opening.

Monitoring Criteria:

  1. Food – Closely monitor the temperature of all Time and Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS) food to assure temperatures are maintained at 41°F or below for cold holding; or, 135°F or above for hot holding. If TCS foods are between 41° and 45°F, they must be used within 72 hours (date-label these items). Once a TCS food exceeds 45°F it must be used within four hours or discarded (time-label food containers, starting at the time of the electrical power outage; or, once they are taken out of temperature control). Do not serve- or save food that has been temperature-compromised.
  2. Food holding equipment – Keep cold- and hot holding equipment doors closed to maintain the temperatures of the food.
  3. Hot water – Hot water from the faucet of the 3-compartment sink must be at least 120°F. Unless the detergent in use has specific criteria for a lower temperature, the warewashing water must be at least 110°F. Close for business if the hot water at the hand washing sink(s) falls below 100°F. To conserve hot water, consider switching to single-use tableware until the electrical power is restored.