With potential power outages becoming more of a possibility due to unstable weather, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is reminding residents to take extra precautions frozen and refrigerated food is safe after a power outage. 

For refrigerated food, potentially hazardous food that is above 4°C (40°F) for more than two hours should be discarded.  

Frozen foods should be kept at -18°C (0°F), while frozen, partially thawed, or thawed foods below 4°C (40°F) can be prepared and consumed. You should discard thawed vegetables, fish, shellfish, ice cream and frozen foods because bacteria multiply rapidly in these foods. Partially thawed foods containing ice crystals can be safely refrozen. Something to keep in mind is partial thawing and refreezing reduces the quality of most foods. As well any food items with unusual colour or odour should be thrown away. Remember that contaminated or hazardous foods may not look or smell bad so other precautions should be followed. 

If there is any question about contaminated food, the SHA says when it doubt, throw it out. They also remind that if food had to be discarded because of an outage, to document the amount of food that was thrown along with the reason so the information can be provided to the insurance company.  

If food has been contaminated or spoiled, refrigerators and freezers should be cleaned after discarding the food to prevent cross-contamination with new food. When cleaning your unit, wash the interior of the unit and racks with warm water and detergent. Then, Sanitize the interior of the unit and racks with a solution of household bleach and water (one (1) tablespoon of bleach in six (6) cups of water—solution can be applied with a spray bottle. Sanitizing solution should stand for 45 seconds and then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Once temperatures reach normal levels, 4°C (40°F) for refrigerators, -18°C (0°F) for freezers, you can restock the unit.  

Another reminder is to not mix bleach with other cleaning solutions, and leftover bleach solution should be poured down the drain.