The following is included here with permission from the Food Safety Information Council – firstname.lastname@example.org
Food and Fridges
Your food will remain safe in your refrigerator for 2 hours. If it has been more than 4 hours, throw the food out. Don’t open the fridge door during the power cut, unless necessary.
The best option is to keep the refrigerated foods as cold as possible by not opening the door unless necessary to remove food to eat or check the temperature after 2 hours. or place items in the freezer. If this is not possible:
- Remove ice bricks from the freezer and place in an esky.
- Remove all meats, poultry, dairy and potentially hazardous food (for example dips, pâté, ham, prepared and cooked food) from the refrigerator and place in an cooler with frozen bricks or gel packs.
- Salted butter, margarine and hard cheeses will remain safe at room temperature.
- Place the ice or ice bricks throughout the stored food to ensure an even temperature. Make sure the lid of the cooler has a good seal.
- If the temperature of the food stored in an cooler or refrigerator reaches more than 5 °C for less than 2 hours you should find alternative refrigeration at less than 5 °C or, if possible, freeze or use immediately.
- Food stored in a refrigerator or esky at more than 5 °C for 4 hours or more should be thrown out.
Food and Freezers
- Freezers that are in good condition and operate at minus 15 °C or below can keep foods at safe temperatures for between 1 and 2 days. If the freezer door is kept shut, a full freezer can keep food chilled for up to 48 hours, while a half full freezer can be kept food chilled for 24 hours.
- It is important that the doors of freezers are not opened unless necessary. Opening and closing the doors will reduce the time the contents will remain at safe temperatures.
- Foods that have partly defrosted or defrosted but remain very cold (5 °C or less) can be refrozen. Remember that some food types, for example ice cream which will thaw other foods defrost. Although there is no safety issue, some foods become icy or their texture will be damaged when refrozen and may not be usable after defrosting and refreezing.
Note that while there will not be a food safety issue in refreezing defrosted foods, the quality of the food may be slighted deteriorated. You have 2 options for food that has been stored in a freezer where the temperature has reached more than 5 °C for up to 2 hours:
- Find alternative refrigeration at less than 5 °C or refreeze
- Consume immediately.
If your food has been in a freezer where the temperature has reached more than 5 °C for more than 2 hours, but less than 4 hours, it should be consumed immediately.
Food stored in a freezer for more than 4 hours at more than 5 °C should be thrown out.
Food in the process of being cooked
Throw out food that was being cooked when the power failed if cooking cannot be completed properly within 2 hours. If food is already properly cooked, eat it within 2 hours or throw it out.