During and after a prolonged power failure, the foods you keep in the refrigerator and freezer may become unsafe to eat. Bacteria can build up in perishable foods which may cause foodborne illness. The most common symptoms of foodborne illness may include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. While the power is out, keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed-avoid opening and closing the doors to check the food inside. Food will keep for 24 to 48 hours in the freezer and for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge.
If your power has been out for 24 hours, all food in your refrigerator must be disposed of; after 48 hours, all food in both your refrigerator and freezer must be thrown out and the appliance cleaned and sanitized.
Here is some advice to help in making sure your food is stored safely if the power goes out:
Your refrigerator-freezer combination:
If you need information on proper storage of your prescription drugs that require refrigeration, such as insulin, call your doctor or local pharmacist.
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For more information: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care