July 22, 2014 - With power outages being reported in the Greenstone area since yesterday, the Health Unit would like to remind home owners to take extra care with any food stored in fridges or freezers.
Whether the power is out for a few hours or a few days, food safety can become an issue. If food is not stored at the proper temperature, bacteria can grow and could make the food unsafe to eat. Some bacteria can cause food-borne illness or food poisoning. Home owners are encouraged to follow the first rule of food safety:
If in doubt, throw it out!
To lower the risk of illness, home owners should keep the following in mind when making decisions about whether or not to keep food after a power outage:
- Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours. Food will stay cool in fridge for 4-6 hours if the door is closed.
- Adding bags of ice will keep the temperature cooler for a longer time period.
Throw out, right away, any food that is off-colour or has an off odour.
Contact your health care provider about safety issues related to any medication that has to be stored in the fridge (e.g. insulin).
A full upright or chest freezer will keep food frozen for about 2 days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for 1 day. Avoid opening and closing the freezer to check the food inside.
For more information, including a listing of what food to keep and what food to throw out, visit the Health Unit’s website at tbdhu.com and click on Emergency Preparedness.
The website also includes information on water safety during an outage and tips on how to prepare formula when electricity is not available.