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Food safety after power outages: Here's what you need to know

Health Unit offers reminder to check potentially hazardous foods after you lose power

While the Sudburians clean up outside their homes following a powerful thunderstorm that swept through the region yesterday evening, knocking out power to thousands of people, they might not be thinking about the impact the loss of electricity could have inside their homes.

That's right, check the food in your fridges and freezers if you're one of the thousands who've  lost power for several hours.

Naturally, during a power outage, it's best to avoid opening refrigerators and freezers unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours, the Sudbury and District Health Unit reports, while a freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours. 

An unopened refrigerator will keep for cold for approximately four hours.

Carefully inspect all food items at higher risk of spoilage and don't consume any you think it might not be safe, the health unit says. Discard perishable foods that have been unrefrigerated for more than two hours and those with an unusual odour or texture. Keep in mind that food contaminated with bacteria might not look or smell spoiled — when in doubt, throw it out.

For more information on what to do with your food during and after an emergency, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or call the Sudbury and District Health Unit at 705-522-9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).