Food Safety

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After a power outage

Food safety is important after a flood or power outage. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself and your family.

  • Food items that have come into contact with floodwaters should be thrown out, with the exception of sealed canned goods. However, the outside of sealed canned goods must be thoroughly washed and disinfected.
  • A refrigerator will keep foods cool for 4-6 hours without power. Dispose of all foods which have been above 4 C (40 F) for more than 2 hours.  Including:
  • fish, poultry and meats, including cold cuts
  • eggs, milk and cheese and other dairy products
  • soups, stews, casseroles
  • any food that may have come in contact with meat juices.
  • If your chest freezer is full, foods inside should remain safely frozen for up to 48 hours after a power failure. If your freezer is half full, foods inside should remain safely frozen for 24 hours after a power failure. Any foods that are thawed should be thrown out, and if in doubt - throw it out!

How can I prepare baby formula during a power failure?

If you are feeding your baby both breastmilk and infant formula, consider only providing breastmilk during this time.

Ready-to-serve infant formula is the safest option for exclusively formula-fed babies when:

  • water safety, and/or lack of power is impacting your ability to properly prepare, store, or handle infant formula
  • proper cleaning of infant feeding equipment and supplies is a challenge
  • if you do not have access to ready to serve infant formula, make sure you use a safe water supply to prepare formula and to clean infant feeding equipment and supplies.

For more information on how to keep your food safe during/after a flood or power outage, refer to the following resources:

Keeping Food Safe During a Power Failure

Food Safety in an Emergency - Canada Food Inspection Agency

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