Food safety in an emergency - in the home
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This fact sheet is designed to guide the public on what to do if they have a power outage or other emergency situation that affects their food storage.
Food may or may not be safe after an emergency situation such as a:
When in doubt, throw it out!
Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been kept warm for too long, they may contain bacteria which may make people ill.
If you experience a power failure during any emergency event, there are several steps you can take to reduce the chance of getting food poisoning and limit the amount of spoiled food.
Take note of the time your power goes off, and if the power is out for more than a few 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 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.
Perishable food above 5°C can be consumed 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. These 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: