To eat, or not to eat: Food safety tips after Dorian
Food is shown in a freezer in North Vancouver, B.C., on Oct. 30, 2013. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Did you lose power during Dorian? Are you wondering if your food is still safe to eat?
Health officials say foods can become a health risk if they have been sitting in your fridge or freezer for several hours during a power outage.
Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office has issued these helpful tips when it comes to food and water safety:
- Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Refrigerated foods will generally stay safe for four to six hours. Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible.
- Frozen foods in a fully-stocked freezer will stay frozen for up to two days. Foods in a half-filled freezer will keep for about one day.
- Most foods with visible ice crystals, and at temperatures less than 4C (40F) are safe to be refrozen or cooked.
- Try to consume perishable foods that have been cooked as soon as possible after preparation.
Floodwater can also affect food safety. If you are experiencing flooding:
- Foods that are contaminated and wrapped and stored in paper, plastic cloth, fiber, or cardboard should be discarded.
- All food with containers that have screw caps, snap lids, and pull tops should be discarded.
- Only commercially-sealed, unopened, undamaged, waterproof, airtight jars or metal cans can be considered safe once they are cleaned and sanitized before opening.
After a flood, well water can become contaminated with bacteria and chemicals that can make you sick:
- If your well has been flooded, don’t use your well water for drinking, cleaning, or bathing.
- You should stay away from your well pump while your home is flooded because of electrocution risk.
- If water is not safe, you should use bottled water, or boil or disinfect water for cooking and cleaning.