Food Safety

Environmental Health

Emergencies and Extreme Weather Events - Food Safety

As of July 1, the inspection, compliance and enforcement functions from several provincial government departments will come together under Nova Scotia Environment.

Departments involved in this consolidation include the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Health and Wellness, the Department of Agriculture, Nova Scotia Environment, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

For more information, visit novascotia.ca/nse/inspection-compliance-enforcement/

Food may not be safe to eat during or after an emergency. Food may become contaminated with chemicals or bacteria during hurricanes, floods or other severe events and foods that require refrigeration may not be safe to eat if there is no power for an extended period.

During a power outage, store food safely

While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Add block ice or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity is expected to be off for more than 4 hours. Wear heavy gloves when handling dry ice.

Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat

  • Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
  • Throw away food that has an unusual odor, colour or texture.
  • Throw away perishable foods (including raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk) that have been above 4° Celsius for two hours or more.
  • Throw away food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip tops, snap-open, and home canned foods if they have come into contact with floodwater because they cannot be disinfected.
  • Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened or damaged.
  • If cans have come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the labels, wash the cans and dip them in a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 litre of water. Re-label the cans with a marker.

Feeding infants

Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. Mothers who are breast-feeding should keep warm, eat well, drink plenty of fluids and snuggle babies close to them. For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible.

More Information

For more information on what to do with your food during a power outage, please visit the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture website at: