IAEC

Keeping food safe during a power outage

May 18, 2007

Food Safety and Power Outages

* Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Each time the door is opened, a significant amount of refrigeration is lost.

* The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.)

* Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below.

* Never taste a food to determine its safety!

* Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for two days.

* If the power has been out for several days then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below, then the food is safe.

* If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, then the food is safe.

* Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after four hours without power.

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