With thousands of Nova Scotians still in the dark after post-tropical storm Arthur swept the province, many people are facing the problem of what to do about perishable food in fridges and freezers. 

Storm clean up is not just about the havoc caused by the wind, if your power has been out for more than an hour you need to take time to make sure everything in your fridge or freezer is still safe to eat.

The Department of Agriculture has a number of suggestions about how to prevent food loss during a power outage but says “when in doubt, toss it out.”

The department says it’s all about temperature.

“Discard any perishable foods that may have been above [4 C] for more than two hours,” according to the department's food safety fact sheet, “and any food that feels warm or has an unusual odour or colour.”

The agriculture department says there are some foods that can last longer outside the fridge. It says things like butter or margarine, fruits and veggies, and condiments — among others — can last for several days without being kept cold.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency advises that a full freezer will keep food frozen for about 48 hours after it loses power, a half-full freezer for about 24 hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep cold for about four hours.

With the hurricane season running into the fall, Nova Scotians can expect to be dealing with storm power outages for several months to come.