Food safety and emergencies

It’s vital that you follow good food safety practices in emergency situations such as power failures. This will help preserve food stocks and prevent food poisoning.

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How long can I keep food?

In a power failure, the most important thing is to try and keep refrigerated and frozen food cold. If food is still cold to touch – less than 5°C – it’s safe to use.

Once food is no longer cold to touch, eat it within four hours or throw it away. If it’s raw meat, you should cook it and eat it.

If you have hot food, eat it within four hours of it being hot or throw it away.

If food is still frozen hard when the power comes back on, it’s safe to place back into the freezer.

How do I keep food safe in a power failure?

If possible, you should:

  • only open fridge and freezer doors when absolutely necessary
  • move food from the fridge to the freezer
  • put bagged ice under food packages if power failure lasts more than one hour
  • place an insulating blanket over cold or frozen food where possible

For more information on food safety, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.



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