The Food Safety Information Council has released advice and guidelines to help you maintain food safety when the power goes out.
Unless cold storage is available within 2 hours of a power cut, all potentially hazardous foods such as meat, poultry, seafood and ready-to-eat perishable food) that are stored in refrigerators or chillers need to be:
- placed in alternative cold storage, for example coolers with ice or ice bricks, or into the fridges of family and friend’s
- eaten immediately
- if you have a fridge thermometer and have recorded the time the power went off, eaten immediately or thrown away if the temperature rises to above 5 degrees for over 2 hours
- if you don’t have a fridge thermometer and another cold storage area is not immediately available after 2 hours.
Time and temperature are the most important measurements used to determine whether food needs to be regarded as potentially unsafe.
The ‘4 hour/2 hour rule’ for safe storage of food
The following actions are recommended f or any potentially hazardous food that has been at temperatures between 5 °C and 60 °C for a total of:
- less than 2 hours – refrigerate or use immediately
- longer than 2 hours but less than 4 hours – use immediately
- 4 hours or longer – must be thrown out.
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