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Food Safety In the Tropics - What to do when the power goes off

You have just filled your fridge up with food and the power goes out!

 What do you do?

Each year a staggering 86 people die with food poisoning and it is the preventable illness.

A tropical wet season can place serious stress on our electricity grid as people keep their air conditioners on for longer periods.

The additional workload increases the likelihood of power outages, meaning the food in your fridge is susceptible to going bad and making you sick. 

In recent years we have seen outbreaks of food poisoning linked to risky raw foods such as unpasteurised milk, raw eggs, bean and seed sprouts, frozen berries and lettuce.

If the electricity fails, remember the following tips:
• Record the time the power went out

• Avoid opening fridge and freezer doors to keep the internal temperature as cool as possible

• Refrigerated foods should be used or discarded within four hours

• If foods that should be refrigerated are allowed to warm for two hours or more, they shouldn't be eaten

• Frozen foods should last for 24 hours, provided the freezer has been kept sealed

• If you were in the process of cooking when the power went out, ensure food is covered or sealed and discard the food if cooking cannot be completed within two hours.

"These times are dependent on your refrigerator being set to five degrees or lower. Coming into summer it's a good time to check the temperature of your fridge and freezer to ensure that food can be kept cool and safe," Ms Johnson says.

"Fridge temperatures can be kept constant by ensuring the fridge door is only opened for short times and only as required, and avoiding over-filling your fridge as this may prevent air from circulating properly."

For more tips on how to stay food safe over summer, click here to visit the Food Safety Association website.

To read more Tropic Now 15 Nov 2016