If you've been without power over the weekend, it might be time to clean out your fridge. Hamilton's public health department has tips for what to toss and what you can keep.

What to throw away:

If the temperature in your fridge was above 4C for two hours or longer, here's what you should toss.

  • cold cuts that aren't sealed or vacuum-packed
  • soft cheeses
  • hot dogs
  • raw ground meat (chicken, pork or beef)
  • fish and seafood (unless its smoked, cured or pickled)
  • eggs
  • milk, cream and yogurt
  • opened baby formula
  • garlic in oil or butter
  • cooked dishes like pasta, stews, soups, casseroles and baked potatoes

If your fridge has been without power for more than four hours, also toss:

  • hard cheeses
  • raw, solid pieces of meat like steaks or roasts

In the freezer

Your best bet is to keep your freezers closed to keep as much cold air in as possible. Public Health says in an information sheet a full freezer will stay at freezing temperature for two full days. If the freezer is half-full, it can stay at freezing for one full day.

When you do open your freezer, if the items have ice crystals on them, they can be re-frozen. If not, you may have to invite the neighbours over and cook 10 steaks for dinner.

A few more tips:

Don't rely on your nose to tell you if your food as spoiled – you can't smell all bacteria that could be growing on any items.

Never taste food to determine if its safe to eat. You might not figure out its spoiled before its too late.