If a summer storm causes you to lose power to your home, be aware of these tips to keep your family safe from foodborne illness.
Without power, refrigerators keep food cool for four to six hours. If you have any ice, put it in a container in the fridge to help keep food cooler. Donot open the refrigerator. If you anticipate a long power outage, use insulated containers to transport food to a working cooler or refrigerator if available.
If power is interrupted or the freezer fails to operate properly, donotopen the freezer unnecessarily. If the freezer is filled with food and you keep the door closed, the food will stay frozen for about two days. If the freezer is not full, group packages together so they stay cold longer.
WHEN THE POWER IS RESTORED
Check temperatures of food in the refrigerator and freezer. If food is above 4.5 C (40 F), you need to determine how long it was at that temperature. Use a food thermometer to check the food. If the food items were at temperatures above 4.5 C for longer than two hours, throw away the food.
For frozen foods, look for ice crystals and check temperature. Throw away perishables such as meat and poultry leftovers. Never taste food to determine its safety!
DO NOT REFREEZE:
Food that has thawed completely, especially meat, poultry and seafood. Prepared, cooked foods such as pizza, hot dishes, stews and soups.
Any food that has poor or questionable colour or odour.
Creamed foods, pudding or other low-acid foods that have thawed.
Melted ice cream.
SAFE TO REFREEZE:
Foods that still contain ice crystals.
Thawed fruit if it still smells good.
Bread, cake, cookies, plain doughnuts. Nuts, flour, cereal.
Raw meat and poultry that has thawed but is still above 4.5 C (40 F) or less.