Power Outage Food Safety
Keep the doors to the refrigerator and freezer closed. Every time a door is opened the cold air escapes.
How long will my food stay safe?
- Keep an appliance thermometer in then refrigerator and freezer at all times to remove the guesswork of how cold food is.
- Food in the refrigerator is safe to eat if it is at 40°F or below. Generally, refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours.
- Food in the freezer portion of a refrigerator-freezer should stay frozen for up to a day if the door is closed.
- A separate free-standing chest or upright freezer will keep food frozen solid for two days if it is fully loaded. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for a day, especially if the food has been grouped together.
What should I do after the power comes back on?
- Discard refrigerated food that is warmer than 40°F.
- If frozen food thaws but stays at 40°F or colder, cook or refreeze them as soon as possible.
- Do not taste food that you think might be bad.
- Throw food away based on temperature – not the way it looks or smells.
- If you have questions, Throw the food out!
- Thoroughly clean the inside of the refrigerator and/or freezer after spoiled or thawed foods are taken out with soap and water and then with a bleach solution.
It's winter and my power is out. Can I store my perishable foods outside in the cold?
Storing food outside is potentially dangerous and is not recommended.
- If the food is exposed to the sun's rays, there could be melting of frozen foods and refrigerated foods could become too warm.
- The temperature outside is variable and if the temperature is cold enough to keep frozen foods frozen, it is too cold for refrigerated foods.
- Food stored outside is exposed to unsanitary conditions and to animals that pass by.
If you have questions, call the Scott County Health Department.