FREDERICTON, N.B. – New Brunswickers affected by power outages are urged to think about food safety, said Dr. Denis Allard, deputy chief medical officer of health.
"New Brunswickers need to be careful about consuming frozen or refrigerated foods if their home has been without electrical power for any extended period," Allard said.
If you have no power, do not open your freezer or refridgerator unless it is absolutely necessary. If the door remains closed, a full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours without electricity. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present. All perishable food in a refrigerator without electricity for more than 24 hours should be discarded.
Here are some tips on how to deal with food safety in a power outage situation:
● Since access to food and water might be limited during a power outage, choose foods that cook quickly and prepare one-dish meals or plan no-cook meals;
● Limit leftovers: cook only what is needed for one meal;
● If using baby formula, make up only enough for immediate use. Powdered formula will not require refrigeration after opening;
● Foods can be cooked on wood stoves or in fireplaces;
● Candle warmers and fondue pots can be used to heat food;
● Charcoal or gas barbecues can only be used outdoors.
● Blocks of ice can be put in the freezer unit of your refrigerator with perishable items to keep them cooler;
● Discard any food that feels warm or has an unusual colour or odour.
● Covering a freezer with blankets or quilts will help keep it cold;
● Raw meats should be wrapped so that juices cannot drip on other foods;
● Meat and poultry that has thoroughly thawed should first be cooked before refreezing;
● Discard any foods where the temperature has been more than 4̊C (40̊F) for more than two hours;
● Fish and shellfish should not be refrozen if they have completely thawed;
● Frozen dinners, desserts and ice cream should not be refrozen.
"When in doubt, throw it out," said Allard. "It is better not to take chances when it comes to food-borne illnesses."