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When in doubt, throw it out: OPH

Ottawa Public Health says, if kept closed, a full upright or chest freezer will keep food frozen up to 48 hours during a power outage. 

Hydro Ottawa has restored power for thousands of people due to the major storm that swept through Canada's capital on Saturday, May 21, but outages are still affecting at least 110,000 customers. 

But happens to food that remains in fridges and freezers?

If residents have an upright freezer, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says keeping the fridge doors closed is the best way to prevent any spoilage, especially for frozen food items. 

An upright or chest freezer will keep food frozen for up to 48 hours during a power failure. A half-full freezer on the other hand, will keep food frozen for about 24 hours. 

Putting ice inside fridges or inside coolers is also something people can do to keep food items from going bad. 

Placing securely wrapped packages of raw meat, poultry or fish in the coldest section of a refrigerator is also another way to keep food from spoiling. 

If food is thawed or has been sitting at room-temperature for more than two hours, it should be thrown out. 

As for cold foods, OPH says that if you have not been able to keep foods cold below 4 C or 40 F during a power outage, it should be thrown out as well. 

Steve Kanellakos, City of Ottawa manager, said during a media availability on Sunday, May 22, that there could be a special bin and collection pick-up for those residents who need to dispose of spoiled food, especially for neighbourhoods that have their regular waste collection pick-up schedule delayed by one day due to the Victoria Day holiday. 

In a tweet released on the afternoon of May 23, Stittsville Coun. Glen Gower stated City of Ottawa staff are planning a special food waste collection day for Tuesday, May 24 for the Stittsville ward. He also notified residents that there is a bin for organics only at the CARDELREC Recreation Complex Goulbourn located at 1500 Shea Road. 




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