The following is a Public Advisory: Food Safety Tips for Residents Affected by Power Outages. This advisory focuses on Central Newfoundland residents but contains some valuable information if our community is faced with extended power outages in the future.
Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs
November 22, 2013
Public Advisory: Food Safety Tips for Residents Affected by Power Outages
Residents in central Newfoundland experiencing a power disruption due to the recent winter storm in that region are reminded that certain actions should be taken to ensure food safety. To prevent food-related illnesses, resident should follow these tips:
Do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unless absolutely necessary in order to maintain the cold temperature;
A full freezer will keep food frozen for about 48 hours. A freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours;
If available, add ice to the refrigerator to keep the food at a safe temperature if the power will be out for a long period of time;
Carefully inspect all food items and do not eat any food you think may not be safe. Spoiled food may not look contaminated. The general advice from food safety experts remains ‘when in doubt, throw it out’;
Any food thawed at room temperature for two or more hours should be discarded, as well as any food that has an obvious unusual colour or odour. However, it is important to keep in mind that food contaminated with bacteria does not necessarily smell bad or appear spoiled;
Keep cold food cold. Use dry ice or an ice chest;
If food is cold to the touch, it is probably safe to keep, use or refreeze;
Discard meat, seafood, dairy products and cooked food that are not cold to the touch;
A clean source of water can be used to mix skim milk powder or dilute tinned milk and use on cereal or to mix with instant puddings; and,
If there is a way to heat or cook foods, then canned vegetables, canned stews, soups and pastas can be used. Also, warm drinks such as hot chocolate made with milk can be made.
Residents are also reminded that cold temperatures stop the growth of bacteria to reduce risk of it causing illness. Normal refrigeration temperature is 4°C (40°F), or below, and normal freezer temperature is -18°C (0°F), or below. For more information on general food safety, please visit: www.gov.nl.ca/health/publichealth/envhealth/foodsafetyinfo.html.
Residents affected by power outages can visit http://newfoundlandpower.com/Outages/ and http://callcenter.nlh.nl.ca/Outage/ for updates from Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro respectively.
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Public Relations Specialist
Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador
2013 11 22 2:40 p.m.