Keeping Food Safe during Power Outages

April 16, 2018

Icy Fence

Huron County, ON – If you are currently experiencing or have experienced a power outage during this weekend’s ice storm, be mindful of food safety. The Huron County Health Unit has the following recommendations for residents.

Do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unless absolutely necessary in order to maintain the cold temperature. Do not place hot foods in refrigerators.

  • A full freezer will keep food frozen for about 48 hours. A freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  • An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours.
  • If available, add ice to the refrigerator to keep the food at a safe temperature if the power will be out for long periods of time. Keep in mind that food contaminated with bacteria does not necessarily smell bad or appear spoiled.
  • When the power comes back on:
  • Discard any thawed food that has been at room temperature for two or more hours, and any food that has an obvious unusual colour or odour.
  • Check all refrigerators and freezers to ensure they have turned back on.
  • Check the internal temperature of perishable foods to ensure they are at a safe temperature (4°C (40°F)) using a sanitized probe thermometer.
  • Turn the temperature dial down to the lowest possible setting until the temperature returns to 4°C or lower (refrigerator) and -18°C or lower (freezer). Once the units are maintaining the proper temperature, adjust the temperature dials accordingly.
  • As a general rule, if there are ice crystals on the food and the foods are only partially thawed, refreezing may reduce the quality but the food will remain safe to eat.

If raw food has leaked during thawing, clean and disinfect the areas the food has touched.

Don’t take chances. When in doubt… throw it out!

Huron County has also experienced rainfall as part of this storm.

Heavy rainfall put wells in low-lying, flood-prone areas at risk for contamination from surface runoff. Dug wells, well pits and well casings without a proper seal are most at risk.

The Huron County Health Unit suggests sampling your well at least three times per year. You should always sample after heavy rainfall and flooding.


Our media contact is: Rita Marshall, Communications Co-ordinator, 519-482-3416 (1-877-837-6143) ext. 2023 or

Our spokesperson is: Jessica Van Geffen, Public Health Inspector

Check out these links for more information:



For more information contact:

Susan Cronin,
519.524.8394 (ext 3257)