WHO: Discard foods kept in fridge after four-hour power outage

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that food stored in the fridge after four hours of power outage should be thrown away.

According to the global health body, foods exposed to temperatures above 5 °C (41 °F) for over two hours can become unsafe to eat.

The health organisation gave this warning on Friday in a series of messages posted on X (Twitter) in commemoration of the 2024 World Food Safety Day themed, ‘Food safety: prepare for the unexpected’.

The World Food Safety Day celebrated annually on June 7 was established by the United Nations General Assembly task force in 2018 to raise awareness and encourage efforts to prevent, detect and address public health risks linked to unsafe food.

“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,” WHO warned.

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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