Food Safety for Power Outages
Printable Fact Sheet: Eat Safe Food After a Power Outage
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Refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat after the loss of power. Find out what you can do to keep food safe during a power outage, and when you need to throw away food that could make you sick.
- Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator should be at 40°F or below. The freezer should be at 0°F or below.
Prepare for emergencies or natural disasters:
- Freeze containers of water and gel packs to help keep your food at 40°F or below.
- Have a cooler and frozen gel packs handy in case you have to remove your food from the refrigerator to keep it cold.
- Buy dry ice or block ice to keep your food cold in the refrigerator, if you think the power will be out for a long time.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
- If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to:
- 4 hours in a refrigerator.
- 48 hours in a full freezer; 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
- If the power has been out for 4 hours, and a cooler and ice are available, put refrigerated perishable foods in the cooler. To keep them at 40°F or below, add ice or a cold source like frozen gel packs.
- Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture.
- Check temperatures of food kept in coolers or your refrigerator with an added cold source. Throw out food above 40°
- If you have an appliance thermometer in your freezer, check to see if it is still at 40 °F or below.
- You can safely refreeze or cook thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.