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Food Safety during Power Outages

The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge district Health Unit is urging people to be careful when eating foods after a blackout. Manager of Environmental Health, Richard Ovcharovich says in a blackout, throw out perishable foods that have been sitting in temperatures above four degrees for more than two hours. Ovcharovich suggests keeping a supply of non-perishable food items in the event of a blackout.

These are some more precautions to take in the event of a blackout:

Keep the refrigerator or freezer door closed at all times to maintain the temperature inside. Avoid unnecessary opening and closing of the fridge or freezer to check the food inside. Typically without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours if the door is kept closed. During a blackout, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full can keep food frozen for about two days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for one day.

If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator or freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period.

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If the power is going to be off for an extended period of time, consider taking food to a freezer belonging to a friend or neighbour who has power.

Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above four degrees for more than two hours.

As soon as possible, throw out any food that is off-colour or has a bad odour.

Contact a health care provider for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.

(Autumn Smith)

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