Food safety in an emergency - for food businesses
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This fact sheet is for food businesses to refer to if there is an emergency situation such as a black out, fire, flood etc. and guides them in what to do with their food
Food may or may not be safe after an emergency situation such as a:
When in doubt, throw it out!
However, appearance or smell is not always a reliable indicator. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been warm too long, they may contain enough bacteria to make people ill.
If you experience a power failure during any emergency event, there are several steps you can take to limit the amount of spoilage to refrigerated and frozen food. In the event of a power failure that lasts longer than several minutes:
After the power has been restored you should check the temperature of perishable food in your refrigerator to see if the temperature is 5°C or below.
If it perishable food is above 5°C and the power has been off for less than 2 hours you can re-refrigerate the food or use it immediately.
If the food temperature is above 5°C or has defrosted in the freezer certain foods may be unsuitable to consume if stored above 5°C for more than 4 hours. They include:
Certain foods can be safely stored at room temperature (above 5°C) for longer periods of time and still be safe to eat. These foods include: