Throw out foods in fridge after four-hour power outage - WHO advices

Saturday, June 8, 2024 - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said foods exposed to temperatures above 5 °C (41 °F) for over two hours can become unsafe to eat.

The organisation made this known today, June 7, in posts shared via X to commemorate the 2024 World Food Safety Day themed, “Food safety: prepare for the unexpected”.

WHO wrote on X: "If there has been a power outage in your area, refrigerated or frozen food may not be safe to eat. Products can become unsafe if they have been exposed to temperatures above 5 °C for more than two hours.

“After four hours of a power cut, the following apply: Throw out all perishable foods in your fridge, such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers.

“Throw out all items in your freezer once they have thawed or cook them immediately, if they have been exposed to ambient temperature for more than two hours. Never eat food to determine if it is safe. If in doubt, throw it away."

For those living in areas prone to power outages, the WHO recommends keeping a supply of pre-packaged, ready-to-eat, and canned foods, as well as bottled water.

“In case you live in areas prone to power outages, always keep a stock of pre-packaged, ready to eat and canned food, as well as bottled water for an emergency situation. Undamaged canned goods and commercial glass jars of food are likely to be safe.

“However, if possible, containers should be sanitised before opening them for use. Discard canned foods with broken seams, serious dents, or leaks; and jars with,” WHO advised.

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