Householders in America have been reminded to stick to food safety advice if they suffer a power cut.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already been given orders to evacuate parts of New York City and New Jersey as Hurricane Sandy approaches the east coast of the United States. With maximum sustained winds clocked at 90mph and the possibility of higher gusts, widespread damage including power cuts across a number of states is expected.
People faced with a loss of power for a prolonged period have been warned to follow food safety advice and keep fridge and freezer doors closed to ensure fresh and frozen food lasts as long as possible.
According to Consumer Affairs, the average refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours once the power goes. The more times the door is opened, the shorter the safe period is. The US Department of Agriculture says a full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours if it is full, or 24 hours if half-full.
Consumers have been reminded that in the interests of safety, "when in doubt, throw it out", is the best policy to adopt.