How to Avoid Foodborne Illnesses During a Power Outage

avoid foodborne illnesses during a power outage

Although power outages and load shedding are not too common, they do occur more in the middle of the summer. Australian summers can be quite unforgiving, and if you do have a power outage, this can mean that food you have stored in your fridge or freezer may spoil.

Here is how you can keep your food safe and reduce the chances of foodborne illnesses from eating spoiled food:

Don’t Open the Fridge or Freezer Door

As a general rule, your fridge will keep your food cool for up to 4 hours after the power has gone out as long as you do not open the door. Food can stay safe and preserved in a freezer for anywhere between 24 and 48 hours. If the power is gone for any longer than that, it would be a good idea to throw out meat, eggs, and any other leftovers.

Keep an Eye on The Temperature

As we have established, try not to open the fridge or freezer door unless you absolutely have to. One of the reasons you may want to open the doors is to check the temperature. You can use any appliance thermometer and see that the fridge’s internal temperature is around 4 degrees Celsius, and the freezer’s internal temperature is around -15 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures, your food should be safe and preserved.

Have A Backup Cooler

If the power has been gone for many hours, you can try switching your perishable foods into a cooler that has ice and icepacks in it. The temperature should be maintained at around 4 degrees Celsius.

Throw Out Questionable Food

It is always better to be safe than sorry! After a long power outage, when you finally open up your fridge and freezer to check on your food, don’t try to taste anything to see if it has gotten spoiled. Throw out anything that you’re unsure of. Your hard cheeses, uncut fruits and vegetables, bread, and most spreads should be safe to keep. Discard meat, poultry, eggs, and milk.

If you want to learn more about food safety and safe food consumption, consider a food safety course. The Australian Institute of Accreditation offers an excellent Food Safety Supervisor course in NSW. You won’t have to worry about foodborne illnesses with the proper training and knowledge.


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