When severe storms or heat waves cause power outages the big food questions are…what to save and when to throw out?
No one wants to lose a freezer and a refrigerator full of food, but spoiled food can cause serious illness.
According to the USDA Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency you need to adhere to the following guidelines:
- A full freezer will keep temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
- If the power is going to be out for a long time, buy dry or block ice.
- Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
- If you keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer, it’s easy to tell whether food is safe. When the power comes back on, check the thermometer. If it reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen.
Keep the fridge closed. It will keep food cold for about 4 hours. Throw away any foods that have been above 40 degrees for longer than two hours.
Words of Caution:
Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.
- Always discard any items in the refrigerator and freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
- Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!
Another caution-be careful when grocery shopping after a power outage. Freezers and refrigerated foods may also have been affected.