Rolling-blackouts wreak havoc on much of our lives. In the kitchen, they can make what we consume toxic
Load-shedding: how safe is food in my fridge
When a power outage or load-shedding hits, an aspect often overlooked is the food in our fridges and freezers. With no electricity, how long do we have before food spoils and what should we do to avoid food poisoning?
Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert and owner of Anelich Consulting, a food safety training and consulting business, says refrigerated food should be safe, as long as the power is out for no more than four hours, and the fridge door is kept closed.
“Perishable foods are the most susceptible to spoilage and possible food safety concerns – examples are fresh meat, poultry, fish, milk, soft cheeses and possibly even leftovers. It is best to discard these foods if the outage is longer than four hours.”
Anelich adds, “Frozen foods will remain frozen for about 48 hours, again, if the freezer door is kept closed.
If any perishable foods start to thaw for whatever reason, they cannot be re-frozen and should be cooked as soon as possible.”
She says tasting and smelling food is not always a reliable way to determine whether it is safe to keep or eat.
Considering the cost of food, you might not want to throw it away. However, you cannot necessarily taste or smell when food is unsafe for consumption.
When food smells “off” it is usually spoiled and should not be consumed. However, it is not necessarily unsafe, and food that smells and tastes fine might, in fact, not be.
These measures apply to all food – at home and stocked in supermarkets.
Be wary of where you shop and, if they don’t have generators, find out what their policies are for ensuring food is kept safe and consumable...