Food Safety during a Power Outage
Below are some tips to help you keep food safe during a power outage!
- Keep the door closed – this will help to maintain the cold temperature
- If the fridge is not opened, it will keep food cold for approximately 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, it may be necessary to move perishable items (meat, poultry, soft cheese) to a cooler filled with ice cubes and gel packs. Alternatively, place some items in the freezer.
- In the event of a prolonged power outage, try to obtain dry ice. 20 kg of dry ice should help to keep a cubic-meter fridge cold for up to two days. Be sure not to handle the dry ice with your bare hands or to let the dry ice come into direct contact with any food.
- Keep the door closed.
- Group food together, as it will help the food to stay cold for longer.
- A full freezer will maintain its cold temperature for about 48 hours. A freezer that is only half full will retain its cold temperature for approximately 24 hours.
- If you know in advance that you will be having a power outage, freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, fridge and coolers.
How will I know if the safety of the food in my fridge/freezer has been compromised?
- If a fridge has been without power for more than 4 hours – and no extra ice or ice packs were placed in the fridge – discard items such as meat, poultry, eggs, cream, soft cheeses and cooked vegetables.
- Discard any foods in the fridge that may have become contaminated by juices dripping from raw meat or poultry.
- Discard anything that has un unusual smell, colour or texture.
- High-acid foods like mustard, tomato sauce and jams are usually still safe to eat. Other foods that may still be used (provided they do not have any mold, unusual colours or smells), include fresh whole fruits and vegetables, baked goods such as muffins and cakes, hard processed cheeses, butter and margarine.
- Frozen foods that have thawed a little will still be safe to eat if they contain ice crystals.
- Frozen foods that have remained at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius can safely be refrozen, although the quality of the food may suffer.
- Do not taste food to determine if it is still safe to eat! When in doubt, throw it out!
A great poster to remind children when to wash their hands!
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