Food Safety Precautions during Power Outages


Macao is in the typhoon season. When a typhoon hits Macao, a power outage may occur. If the power outage lasts for a long period of time, the public should pay attention to whether the food in the refrigerator is still safe for consumption.


If the occurrence of a power outage is known in advance:

We can place a thermometer inside a refrigerator. In the case of a power outage, the thermometer as a temperature indicator is used to determine whether the food is safe for consumption. In addition, ice cubes should be prepared in advance. When the refrigerator stops working, the ice will help to preserve the food for a period of time. We can also put food products which are not consumed immediately (such as meat and poultry) into the freezer compartment, so that these products are stored at a safe temperature for a longer period of time.


If the power outage lasts for 2 to 4 hours, please move the perishable food in your refrigerator (such as milk, dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, leftovers, etc.) to a thermal box covered with ice or dry ice.


In case of sudden power outage:

We should reduce the number of times to open the refrigerator door. Frozen food is safe for consumption as long as the power outage does not exceed 4 hours and the refrigerator door is kept closed.


The time to maintain a low temperature in the refrigerator varies depending on the type of food stored. A fully loaded freezer can keep the food at 5℃ or below that temperature about 48 hours; similarly, a half-full freezer lasts for 24 hours.


To properly store food in the refrigerator, please keep the doors closed as much as possible.


Things to do with the food in the refrigerator after resumption of power supply:

After resumption of power supply, we should check whether the temperature in the refrigeration compartment is maintained at 5°C or below, and that in the freezer is maintained at -18°C or below. Any perishable food (such as meat, milk, yogurt and desserts) which has been kept at temperature above 5℃ for more than two hours should be discarded at once. For food items stored in the freezer, it is safe to refreeze or cook the ones that still contain ice crystals, such as meat, seafood products and frozen food.


If there is no thermometer in the refrigerator, the condition of every food item should be checked whether it is safe to eat. Any food that is suspected of spoilage should be discarded. You should never taste food to determine if it has already turned bad.