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'When in doubt, throw it out,' what can you eat after a power outage



Food safety expert Karen Wong-Petrie offers up tips on what you can and can't keep in your fridge

If you've been without power for an extended period of time, you may want to think twice before eating the food in your refrigerator.

Environmental health and food safety director at Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Karen Wong-Petrie, said for perishables, you should probably discard them if the lights have been out for more than four hours.

"Foods like raw or cooked meat, any prepared casseroles, stews or soups, any leftovers, milk and soft cheese, cooked pasta, potatoes and rice," she explained. "And any salads made with any of those foods should be discarded."

She said condiments like ketchup and mustard, butter and margarine, jams and jellies, along with fresh fruit and vegetables are salvageable.

As for the stuff in your freezer, Wong-Petrie said anything that still has ice crystals in it and is at a temperatures of 4 degrees or colder can be refrozen.

"Some of the chest freezers, they can keep food frozen for up to two days, but it's important to keep that door closed."

She added, "when it doubt, throw it out."

And if you're cooking some of that food during an outage, Wong-Petrie said any barbecues or camp stoves that emit gas need to be used outdoors.