When heat and severe storms cause power outages the big food questions are…what to save and when to throw out?
No one wants to lose a freezer and 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!