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Food safety after power cut

16 Dec 2016

Food safety after power cut

Chillers and freezers in food businesses were checked by Council environmental health officers this week to make sure food is still safe.

Following the power cut on Monday and Tuesday any potentially hazardous food should be thrown out.

These include foods that are supposed to be kept chilled below 5oC, containing meat, fish, dairy products, plus pre-prepared salads, sandwiches, cooked rice and pasta and processed food containing eggs, beans, nuts and other protein rich foods. 

“We’ve found shops who didn’t have generators, or some with generators that didn’t have enough power to keep all fridges and freezers cold, and the food has spoiled,” says regulatory service manager Sarwan Kumar.

“These operators have been required to not sell any of these foods and to dispose of it.”

Harmful bacteria can grow when the temperature of the food increases.

Some businesses moved fresh foods into chest freezers and kept the lids closed.

“If the freezer was full and the door wasn’t opened and there is no sign of thawing then it should be ok to use.

“Frozen food that has defrosted and was refrozen when the power was restored should not be used.”

Council advises food outlets to get ready for the power outage planned for Sunday 18 December, move foods to a deep freeze and keep doors closed during the outage.

What to do with frozen food after a power cut:

  • Food in a deep freeze or with still with ice crystals throughout should be ok.
  • Thawed and refrozen food is unsafe, packages may show signs of dripping or pooling liquid, being out of shape or stuck together. 
  • If in doubt – throw it out.