Food safety vital if power fails

Published on 24 December 2015

Mildura Rural City Council is reminding locals to be extra vigilant with their cold and frozen foods if their power supply is disrupted.

Summer heatwaves have been known to cause black outs across Victoria and Council is advising residents and businesses to be aware of potential health-related issues.

Community Development and Safety portfolio Councillor Ali Cupper said if a power black out occurred, the most important thing was to try and keep cold and frozen food cold.

“It is imperative that people do not consume food that has defrosted or become warm to touch,” she said.

“Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch, 5°C or above, it can be kept and eaten for up to 4 hours and then it must be thrown away. If it is raw meat, it should be cooked and eaten.

“If power is restored when frozen food is still solid the food is safe to refreeze.”

Cr Cupper said hot food should be eaten within 4 hours of it being hot and should be thrown out if it is not able to be stored and cooled within that period.

“Food poisoning can be devastating, particularly in the elderly and young children and is not worth taking the risk. 

“The main point we want people to remember is that they should discard anything that they are unsure of,” Cr Cupper stressed.  

Further information about food safety during a power failure is available from the Victorian Department of Health or by contacting Council’s Environmental Health staff on (03) 5018 8100.

Handy Hints

  • Try to keep cold and frozen food cold. If food is still cold to touch, less than 5°C, it is safe to use. 
  • Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch, 5°C or above, it can be kept and eaten for up to 4 hours and then it must be thrown away or, if it is raw meat, it should be cooked and eaten. 
  • Eat hot food within 4 hours of it being hot or throw it away. 
  • If power is restored when frozen food is still solid the food is safe to refreeze. 
  • Move food from the fridge to the freezer. 
  • If available, put bagged ice under food packages and trays stored in freezers and fridges if power failure lasts more than 1 hour. 
  • Place an insulating blanket over cold or frozen food where possible. 
  • Only open fridge and freezer doors when absolutely necessary, this will keep the food and air temperature colder for longer. 
ENDS
Media enquiries
Angela Umback
p) (03) 5018 8689
e) angela.umback@mildura.vic.gov.au